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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Power Of Mind - Dreamy Reality

It was broad daylight. Now on the pavement, I was calling out to my friend's son in the crowd. I couldn't see him anywhere. Neither could my son, who was standing next to me, throw any light on it.

If losing your son or daughter is not enough, losing someone else's is a nightmare. With my son's hand in mine I started moving through the crowd calling out to the other boy.

Then I saw him, through the moving crowd across the road about eighty meters from where I was. Two men were walking along with him one of them pulling, almost dragging him along.

"Stay right here," I shouted at my son and ran towards the men with my friend's boy. By the time I reached the spot the two guys had gotten into the car and the car had started moving. I chased the car as hard as I could, weaving my way through the traffic.

The car was much faster. It took a left up ahead. I knew the area and stepped into a by-lane with the intention of cutting off the car. I came out on the main road and I was right. I saw the car coming towards me. I stepped onto the road right in the path and waved my hands. The car didn't show any signs of slowing down. It was too late by the time I moved and the car's fender caught me hard on the leg and I was thrown away towards the payment. I lay there for sometime. Soon afterwards I felt someone tapping on my knee. It was my son.

I opened my eyes and found my son standing there. I looked around. I was in my bedroom, my wife sleeping next to me. It was a dream.

"The match has started," my son announced. I remembered that I had only told him to wake me up. I smiled and told him that I would join him soon.

You see what had happened. My dream, I don't know how long it lasted, definitely started much before my son came to wake me up. But my mind somehow knew exactly how my son was going to wake me up and the dream progressed in such a manner so as to create a situation where my son, in the dream, would come and tap me up at exactly the same spot where my son, in the real world, would come and tap me. It's quite amazing - the power of mind.

It can't be a coincidence since I have experienced similar things in the past, but never gave it a thought. Is the mind so powerful so as to create situations matching the dreams or create dreams matching the situations? The scary part is that it seems to be somehow controlling or knows about the future.

I hope it is not just me.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lok Sabha Elections - Voter Turnout

Every time there is an election in India, there is a lot of speculation and anxiety amidst the media and the of course the politicians about the voter turnout. This time there was more concern and expectations in view of the Mumbai attacks last year. However the first phase of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections kicked off yesterday with the same old story. Ultimately a voter turnout between 58 - 62% was recorded.

At the very outset of democracy in India, 45% voters turned up in 1952 which increased to 48% in 1957 and then 55% in 1962. Thereafter the voter turnout has hovered between 55-65%. Indian electorate i.e. the eligible voters above the age of 18, is 714 million. So a 60% turnout actually means that 285 million people do not vote and surprisingly no one is concerned.

The 40% people who do not participate in the electoral process are not lazy or incapable of walking to the nearest polling booth, but are people who have lost faith in the system. They are either not happy with the candidates who are fielded in the electoral battle or have been disappointed by successive "leaders" not delivering on issues which matter the most. These 40% people take the word politician as an adjective and that too in a negative manner. No wonder they do not vote.

The politicians do not want to tackle the issue of non-participation of the electorate in the process because they are pretty happy with the current system. If they do talk about it, someone might just start talking about the eligibility, responsibilty, method of election, form of government etc which they do not want.

People, read politicians, blame the electorate for not participating in the process but the truth is exactly the opposite. It is the politicians who do not participate with the electorate besides of course during the campaigning period. Once the elections are over, the electorate can forget the politicians elected and otherwise for a period of the next five years, the usual term for the government. How does one really expect peoiple to participate in the election process.

It is like a friend who meets one, once in five years and only when he/she is in need. Does one really care about such a friend? So, why should one care about a process which does not have anything in it for the him/her?

Another reason for the electorate to get disillusioned pretty fast may be the kind of Governance system we have. It is largely party oriented. Blame it on the politicians again for "educating" their electorate in such a manner over a period of sixty years. Here the contestant is not important, what is important is the party which he/she belongs to. As a result we have criminals, illiterates and generally useless people elected to office. Political parties market themselves as such and people think that putting a particular party in power will solve their woes. This never happens. It is the elected leaders who make the government and it is the elected leaders who take decisions. The party by itself is quite useless.

It is high time we started thinking locally about who we are electing for our constituency to work for us. The electorate should not even be thinking about what happens at the national level and which party forms the Government. They should elect a leader who is capable, professional in his job and who is passionate about doing something for his constituency. If we do this that would be enough for that particular constituency to develop and progress the way it should. If all constituencies elect their leader with the same logic, the Government at the Centre and the development and progress at the national level will take care of itself.

If Mia Can Do It - So Can I!

If Mia Can Do It - So Can I! Well, that's what I thought to myself when I saw an advertisement that called for people to sign up for "western" dance classes! I know, I know - you will now ask me what has this got to do with Mia Northwest?

Well, those who are regular readers and fans of Mia's writings here on Xomba will remember very well that she had signed up for "bollywood" dance classes and was very enthusiastic about the whole thing. You see, so remembering that article, I thought to myself, if Mia can learn "bollywood" dance, then I am sure I will be able to manage "western" dance..It shouldn't be all that difficult!

It all happened simply because I was looking for a way to exercise effectively and yet enjoy the experience. One fine day, I spotted this advertisement that seemed the perfect cure for all my maladies! A great stress buster, a great way to exercise and in the process, I may learn a new skill too - To dance.

The ad promises that I will learn all forms of western dance, starting with Waltz, Jive, Cha Cha Cha, Salsa, Samba etc. Well, getting excited at the prospect of some great times ahead, I signed up for the classes which began in great earnest last weekend.

Hmm..I thoroughly enjoyed the first session and thankfully did not have all the pains and aches that Mia experienced (Can't compare this to "bollywood" dance and besides, it was just Waltz). Although, my feet did hurt a lot and I had to take rest to make them better. But, am looking forward to my next session eagerly.

Thanks Mia, for the inspiration! BTW, How's your dance progressing, that is if you are still at it?

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Why Is Health Insurance So Expensive?

In America, the health insurance plans are simply too expensive to be affordable to most people as it has become one of the largest monthly expenses. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people, including children are left without any adequate health insurance cover whatsoever. The National Coalition on Health Care has found that “nearly 46 million Americans, or 18 percent of the population under the age of 65, were without health insurance in 2007 according to the government data available.” It is alarming to note that “the percentage of people with employment-based health insurance has dropped from 70 percent in 1987 to 62 percent in 2007, the lowest level of employment-based insurance coverage in more than a decade.” Read - the highlights of the health insurance coverage in 2007. 

This is definitely a matter of serious concern for the government that requires them to make immediate and drastic changes in their health care policies to reduce the costs and make it more affordable to the public at large. But, why is health insurance so expensive? Let us take a look at some of the probable causes.

One of the primary reasons could be that the employers offering health insurance are no longer able to afford the same coverage due to the higher cost of premiums and are now seeking a higher percentage of part payment from the employees. The rising cost of health premiums has also resulted in the smaller employers not being able to offer health benefits to their employees at all. So, in effect more and more companies are taking the easier way out by hiring part-time or contract based employers as they are not eligible for health insurance. This means that the number of workers that are having access to employer-sponsored health insurance is decreasing gradually.

Take a look at these statistics provided by the NCHS for the years ranging from 1987-2004.

Ø Table 131 (page 1 of 2). Expenditures for health services and supplies and percent distribution, by type of payer: United States, selected years 1987–2005:

Ø Table 128 (page 1 of 3). Expenses for health care and prescribed medicine, by selected population characteristics: United States, selected years 1987–2004 :

If you take a look at the data in this chart from the years 1997-2004 covering all age groups eligible for health insurance and their respective cost per person, the mean annual expense per person has gone up from $2,597 to $3,879.

Ø Table 130. Out-of-pocket health care expenses among persons with medical expenses, by age: United States, selected years 1987–2004:

It is clearly evident from this data that the out-of-pocket health care expenses has increased from the year 1987-2004 and the number of people paying more than $1000+ has gone up from 13% - 20%.

Another obvious reason could be the high cost of medicines itself that raises the cost of health care and therefore health insurance premiums. Today, most of the hospitals have turned into big corporate industries that function as business modules and are profit based organizations. Their sole aim is to provide quality health care to those people who are now very much aware about their health care needs and demand quality care from hospitals as their right. Therefore, these hospitals end up spending a lot of money to provide the infra-structure, materials, resources, man-power etc, to increase the quality aspect of health care thereby increasing the cost to the insurer.

Now, let’s not forget that health insurance companies are businesses whose sole purpose is to make “profitable” money by providing a service. Therefore, it is but understandable that these companies would raise their premium rates in order to cater for all the overhead expenses like lawsuits and malpractices, for example, that it may have to account for in this day and age. Other factors to be considered are:

1. Administration costs : A huge load of paper work is involved in both government and private health insurance companies due to different rules and policies and different payouts in different states. A study conducted by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco in the year 2005 found that administrative costs were responsible for up 25% of the nation's health care spending.

2. Legal Concerns: The fear of malpractice and lawsuits results in the US physicians to order more diagnostic tests and investigations to be on the safer side. This results in an increase of the overall cost of health care.

3. Provider power: Since there is no single monopoly in the field of health insurance, the costs of health care are dependant upon the American hospitals, doctors, and other care providers, thereby being able to set higher prices than providers in other countries.

4. Supply: It has been found that the Americans typically consume more of the high-priced medical procedures over the course of their lives. However, there are very few hospitals and doctors who fall within the US per capita income than other industrialized countries where they have a universal health coverage that demands more of the basic health services that drives up their supply and ultimately lowers their cost.

Another aspect that the insurance companies have to deal with is the fact that most people tend to purchase health insurance only when they are sick or unhealthy, therefore resulting in large number of claims in relation to the number of people insured and causing the insurance companies a number of problems as they are unable to accumulate sufficient funds to meet those claims.

This is a major problem faced by the insurance companies, since they do not cover day-to-day expenses and only provide for “unexpected” or “emergency” health care. So, in effect, they actually want people to apply for health insurance in their healthy state. In that instance, more people would be paying their premiums without ever getting anything in return. This facilitates the insurance companies to collect sufficient money to pay for those claims of the small number of insurers who are unfortunate enough to need to make a claim. Now, most people think twice before using medical facilities and try to take care of their own health as far as possible, but if they had a medical insurance cover meeting a substantial part of their medical expenses, they would tend to abuse it by overusing the facilities.

If you are purchasing a health insurance policy then you need to account for the deductible” amount. The deductible amount in an insurance policy is the amount that you will have to pay out of your own pocket before the insurance company starts paying out any benefits. This amount is directly proportionate to your age and health at the time of taking the policy. Therefore, if you are young and healthy then the amount of premium to be paid as well as the deductible will be lesser as compared to an older person who has health risks. Thus, I would say that each person should carefully work out for himself the right age and amount of health insurance premium that he should pay to minimize expenses for himself in the long run and whether it would indeed be beneficial to him or not. The following link provides a listing of website addresses for some State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Programs (SHIPs) provides all the answers about managed health care and helps you to understand all the details about your new health plan choices and how to go about it.

Therefore, it goes without saying that the price of the health insurance will be raised in the event of any “pre-existing conditions” in a persons health. In many cases, the person with a pre-existing medical condition may not be able to get any coverage at all unless the person can prove that he has had continuous care for that condition during the time in which he had no insurance. Even if it is covered, it will cost more money.

Unfortunately, expensive health insurance premiums have become a fact of life for Americans and the only way to bring about any change in the scenario is probably by socializing the health care system. The Obama-Biden plan seems to provide some answers towards this issue.

** You may also be interested in reading this :- National Public Health Week 2009 to Focus on "Building the Foundation for a Healthy America" at these links:

Hormonal Imbalance And Weight Gain

A person can gain weight due to any number of reasons. Getting married, lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet like fast foods, heavy fatty or fried foods, snacking in between meals and intake of alcoholic drinks or sugary soda drinks are the usual suspects. These are however well explained since, its no surprise that you will gain weight if your calorie intake is more than the amount of calories you burn in the day. But, what if you are gaining weight in spite of eating healthy and exercising regularly?

Hormonal imbalance is one of the most overlooked factors leading to weight gain. In most cases people as well as medical practitioners find enough compelling evidence for weight gain to even bother about deeper underlying malaises. For instance certain medications like antidepressants, mood elevators, anti-hypertensives, and drugs that control diabetes can cause weight gain. It has been seen that some steroids, hormone replacement therapy, and even oral contraceptives may also cause gradual weight gain.

“Hormones” are chemicals that are released by cells in our body that act as messengers to transport signals from one cell to another via the blood stream. These hormones are a part of the “endocrine” system controlled by the pituitary gland and they affect the cell metabolism depending upon the kind of signals they receive. Depending on whether cell metabolism increases or decreases, the body will either lose or gain weight.

Hormonal imbalances occur throughout our growth and development for different reasons, while some may be a normal physiological phenomenon, the other reasons have more to do with our lifestyles. For example, lack of proper sleep can cause tiredness and fatigue in the body. A person who doesn’t sleep well will experience a physiological stress. Such chronic stress at the physiological as well as psychological level will induce hormonal imbalances. As we approach middle-age the effect of the hormonal fluctuations becomes more intensified causing a marked difference in the physical and mental well-being. The hormones also have a major role in the efficiency of our immune system and other vital functions of the body.

In women, typically, hormonal fluctuations occur during the menstruation cycle, pre-teen years, perimenopausal and menopausal ages. Stress, emotional tensions, psychological factors and the lifestyle all play a major role in causing hormonal imbalances resulting in weight gain, depression or irritability, difficulty sleeping, hot flashes, bone loss, and other complications such as osteoporosis and breast cancer. During menopause the estrogen levels drop down dramatically and they are treated with hormone replacement therapy which is a cause for fluid retention. Also, as a woman ages, her metabolic levels decrease thereby making her susceptible to gaining weight.

Dietary factors like high fat, carbohydrates and low fiber content cause hormonal imbalances in men resulting in bone loss, impotence or erectile dysfunction, depression or irritability, weight gain, weight or muscle loss, memory loss, breast enlargement, and other complications.

Weight gain could also be due to hormonal imbalances caused by medical conditions like Hypothyroidism or Cushings Syndrome.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal imbalance associated with cysts filled with fluid in the ovaries. This condition affects women mostly in their childbearing age and can seriously complicate their ovulation. The symptoms of POCS are weight gain, irregularities in menstruation, infertility, facial hair growth, sometimes acne and it is also associated with insulin resistance (similar to type 2 diabetes). The high levels of insulin causes health risks like obesity and high blood pressure.

Have a look at this “Weight Gain Shockers Slideshow” that illustrates all the reasons why you could be gaining weight.

Therefore, when tackling weight gain, it is essential to overrule any of the medical conditions associated with hormonal imbalances and then ensure a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and a healthy stress free lifestyle coupled with a regular exercise regime.

The Importance of Reading Aloud

I have been trying to get my son to read aloud for quite some time now. I ask him to read aloud his lessons in preparation for his examinations, but he just doesn't seem to understand the importance of reading aloud.

Since the time I remember, in my childhood, my father used to read aloud stories to us from comic books or other stories and I really enjoyed listening to his voice. He is an avid reader of books himself and so I guess the habit rubbed on to all of us too. I started reading books as soon as I could read on my own and found them to be very entertaining, much more than watching a movie.

Reading aloud has lots of benefits and plays an important role in improving the vocabulary, knowledge of the outer world as also the knowledge of the language. One learns to pronounce words the way they are meant to be read.

Voice modulation is very important while reading aloud so as to convey the exact meaning of the sentences in the correct context. Laying emphasis on the right syllables of a word or a word in a sentence can help in conveying the right expression. Also being able to read all the words clearly and distinctly helps other people to understand what you are reading and even imbibe the knowledge gained hitherto.

What is the importance of reading aloud? There has been a lot of studies and research on this subject and the findings suggested that the literacy growth was higher. The Commission on Reading came out with a report in 1985, "Becoming a Nation of Readers" which stated that the “single most important activity for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children”.
Refer to this article for more details regarding its importance:

Literacy begins at home. If you want your children to be able to enjoy the experience of reading books, then you need to show them how reading books can be a "pleasureful" activity by reading aloud to them. Books with colorful pictures or illustrations can add a lot of fun and meaning and be attractive to a child. Teach your children the "value" of books. One of the greatest benefits that reading aloud can develop for all children, is a background knowledge that helps them achieve a far higher level of understanding that goes beyond the classroom.

It is very important to select the right kind of books to read aloud to your child. The language, vocabulary and knowledge in the book should be rich and bountiful. Reading aloud forces your child into active thinking and imagination. The child learns the skills of having conversations related to the story and this will help in building the self confidence and self esteem and the road to success later in life. Here are some good examples of "Read Aloud" books by Marci McGowan:

Here are some other links that stress on the importance of reading aloud:

Do's and Don'ts of Reading Aloud:

Reading Aloud: Tips for Parents and Teachers

What are read alouds and what can they do for instruction?

Reading aloud is the best way to promote literacy and reading habits in young children. It is the best way to learn and understand a language and gain the skills required to read and write. It provides a window to knowledge that is far reaching and goes beyond classroom teachings. So, don't hesitate to read aloud to your child and also encourage them to read aloud.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Random Man

I was lying on my bed staring at nothing, wondering about the vagaries of the world. Very soon a movement in the emptiness in front of me shook me out of the reverie. It was a mosquito which had flown into my sacred airspace. Now it was still, hanging in mid air. No movement at all.

Many thoughts crossed my mind. First I thought, maybe it was not a mosquito and that I had discovered a new species of spiders, which looked like mosquitoes. I strained my eyes to look for a tell tale piece of gossamer by which it was probably hanging. Couldn't see anything. Then I thought it was a mosquito with an identity crisis and then that maybe I was dreaming.

Normally a stationary mosquito is an inviting prospect to clap your hands. But this one intrigued me and I waited for it to make a move as it probably contemplated which part of my anatomy to feast on.

"Well, aren't you going to do something?" I heard. That was it I was surely dreaming, I thought, a mosquito with spidery habits and talking, English that too, though it wouldn't have mattered much even if it was speaking Spanish or French.

"Like what?" I asked, just to keep it in good humor.

"Like try to kill me."

"Why would I do that?" I lied, in a very questionable manner.

"Because if you don't, then I might bite you."

"Would you do that? Why would you do that?" I asked.

"Because I need to, I have to lay eggs."

"Oh! So you are a female. You might just survive then, since I don't raise my hands on females."

"How dumb? All the mosquitoes which bite you or any other human being are females."

"Really?" I was disappointed at such a sudden jolt to my sense of chivalry as well as genius.

"You really don't know much about mosquitoes, do You? We need blood to lay eggs. The proteins and iron in the blood is essential for the development of our offspings. That is why male mosquitoes do not bite humans, because they don't need your blood to survive."

"Not even just to have fun or for taste?"

"No. Males do not have the proboscis so they can't really draw blood. Even we don't need the blood to survive. It is only for procreation."

"Thank God, the human females are not made like that."

"Very funny."

"Why me?" I asked.

"Why not? We are not very choosy. Your blood is as good as any one else's. Do you think it really matters, Who we take it from?"

"You don't even know me."

"This is definitely the height of social living. I mean you expect a mosquito to introduce itself and then develop a rapport with you before it can draw blood."

"No, I mean don't you want to know about me before you take my blood into your body."

"No, would it matter to you which mosquito takes blood from you."

"As a matter of fact, yes. Are you Anopheles?"

"No. By the way, Don't you have anything better to do than talk to a mosquito. I am leaving."

"Don't you have something to do, like blood and all."

"You have taken all the fun out of it by asking so many questions. I mean it is just a simple activity in the process of reproduction. I can imagine what human females must be going through. So, No. I am going to give it a pass."

"The others will think you are crazy."

"I doubt it. You are the one talking to a mosquito dude"

The mosquito moved away from me and joined another one. As they were flying away, the other one asked, "Who was he?"

"Just a random man." My friend replied.

Waiting For A Miracle

Many a times in life one gets into a situation where he / she realizes that he / she is utterly helpless and there is nothing that can be done except wait, wait for something to happen or wait for something to stop happening, wait for a twist of fate, wait for a divine intervention, wait for a miracle.

Where do you go when,
in an open field it starts raining?

How do you see, on a dark night,
light at the end of the tunnel?

How far can you swim
in the middle of the ocean?

How do you fight with
both arms tied behind your back?

Who do you think will stop when
you are going down?

Whose hand do you hold when
everyone’s gone?

How long do you hope after
you have been pushed off a steep cliff?

How do you pick yourself up,
on you, the burden of entire world?

How do you smile when
your heart is full of sorrow?

What do you do when the one
you love, loves someone else?

How long do you wait, indeed,
Waiting for a Miracle?

How Full Is Your HDTV?

Recently we, my family, in a never ending quest to make the idiot box less idiotic, decided to upgrade our TV. We had already reached the humongous size 29” in the conventional series and knew it was time to embrace newer technology. Over the years, as with all the other families, the TV size was growing and the room size getting smaller. LCD or Plasma TVs seemed to fit the requirement of the shrinking room size without being too intrusive in the already limited space.

Just like the last time when I had to buy Potatoes for the house, I started research on the Internet and guess what, learning how to buy potatoes was much simpler than how to buy an LCD TV, though equally nerve racking.

After spending a lot of time on the Internet one thing was clear that it was the cost which was going to decide which brand, and which size I was going to buy, even though I knew that, that would be the last thing I was going to let others on.. So I went on to one of those huge swanky looking Electronics stores and stood in front of the wall adorning about forty television sets of various brands and sizes. Very soon I had a salesman with a smile plastered on to his face in front of me.

“Are you looking for a TV, Sir?” He asked in a manner as if I had just lost my dear one in a crowd. I couldn’t really blame him, since many people just go to the stores to watch a cricket match if there is one on. I realized that I couldn’t really fool him for long since I wouldn’t be able to differentiate one from the other in the plethora of choices available and moreover it was indeed a shop so I decided to let him on the secret.

“Err.. Yes!”

“What is your budget Sir?”

A*^%^$#@, “Never mind that!” So funny that being part of the middle class actually makes you look like one.

“Any particular brand you are interested in? We have Sony, LG, Samsung, Akai, Panasonic, Videocon, Sharp, TCL, …..” I was short on time and it seemed like the whole world was manufacturing only LCD TVs, so I interrupted him.

“Sony, LG and Samsung would do, and keep it above 29 inch,” I responded.

After what seemed like hours and having gone through the X, W, Z, T, S series of Sony, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 series of Samsung and the 30, 53, 70 , Jazz, Scarlet series of LG and negotiating, with some difficulty, through technical jargon like aspect ratio, dynamic contrast ratio, resolution, etc, I homed in on a 37-inch Samsung and negotiated the price. Just when I thought that I had finalized the deal, our friendly salesman, who actually was nobody’s friend, decided to put my convictions to test.

“Sir if you are spending so much money, why don’t you look at just one more model and get same size, same contrast ratio, aspect ratio plus a full HD TV?”

“What do you mean, the TV I selected is not HDTV?”

“It is HDTV sir but it is not full HD,” he replied with a sense of complete satisfaction.

“And pray, what is the difference.”

“The resolution, Sir.” Great! Just when I thought, I had everything figured out.

“Go on.”

“What you are buying can show 720 vertical lines whereas the full HD TV can show 1080 lines. Much better picture, Sir.”

“How many TV channels are being broadcast on full HD?” I asked.

“Right now, in India? None Sir. But it is the future of TV. Sooner or later it will come.”

This was my fourth TV in 14 years. The chances of even the H reaching India before I changed again were very bleak. Just to keep up with the conversation, I asked the salesman what the price was.

He replied and I smiled for the first time during the entire conversation. A full Rs 2000/- cheaper than the stupid, not even full, HDTV I had selected. That sealed the deal and I bought and brought it home.

Just the presence of the full HD feature, which is not being used, is lending a tremendous quality to the TV viewing experience. When I miss my old TV, the LCD TV has a feature of shifting the aspect ratio back to 4:3 and the picture looks like it used to in my old TV. The TV has saved a lot of space in our living room. Living room, because what’s the point of buying something so expensive if it can’t be shown off, especially when the full HD feature, as such, is not being used.

I went back on the Internet and tried to understand more about the feature, which I was probably never going to use, my newest TV had, and what I read disappointed me. The TV industry has already thought of a fuller HD format, fuller than the current full HD. The 2160p. It will have eight megapixels compared to the current 2 megapixels. Thankfully the format will not come into being till 2015. Till that time my TV will remain full HD and then one fine day suddenly it will become “not so full”.

I am afraid, that the fullness of the HDTV may just become a status symbol. "Tell me, How full is your HDTV?"

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