Archive for November, 2007

Mayawati doesn’t like Madhuri Dixit the ‘casteist’ remarks in Madhuri’s film. And this being India, if you don’t like something, you ban it.

Related post: Offended feelings.

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The government wants to put behind bars those who donate blood for money.

As if we did not have enough senseless laws already! 

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Of the many forms of alternative medicine practised in India and the rest of world, homeopathy is unique in two ways.

First, it has a huge clientele. In India alone, an estimated 100 million people depend solely upon it for their medical needs. According to a recent survey, 55 % of the population in Delhi listed homeopathy as their preferred mode of treatment. The Union health minister of India, A Ramadoss has been quoted as saying, “Homeopathy has very good treatment effect [sic] for certain diseases which are not amenable to treatment by conventional medicine.” In a recent incident, an HIV infected man sold his tractor worth 150,000 rupees to purchase a miracle homeopathic cure for his condition (he wasn’t cured).  

Secondly, homeopathy,  when administered the way it is supposed to be, is an unambiguous fake. Herbal medicines may be unproven but they at least have scientific plausibility. Homeopathy has none. The fundamental principle behind homeopathic medicines is the creation of extremely dilute solutions. Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, recommended a dilution of 30C for most purposes (a xC solution has the original substance in a concentration of 1 in 10^(2x) parts) and apparently a common homeopathic treatment for the flu is a 200C dilution of duck liver. Even in a relatively concentrated solution of 15C, the probability of a single molecule of the original substance remaining in a dose of the medicine is about 1 in 2 million. Indeed, the effect of homeopathic medicine on the ailing do not go further, as several studies have proven, than inducing a feeling of well being among believers due to the placebo effect.

In view of the above facts, it is unfortunate but not too surprising that our government intends to promote homeopathy for maternal health care.

Reference: Wikipedia article on homeopathy.

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This open letter drafted by several retired military personnel and defence scientists and addressed to our Members of Parliament nicely summarises my position on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

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One feature of Windows Vista that hasn’t gotten as much attention as it deserves is the sidebar. It is frequently regarded as mere eye candy. Yet the sidebar can be a really nifty tool – and substantially enhance your productivity- when populated with the right gadgets. You can get one-click access to commonly accessed folders and applications, keep an eye on the weather, check traffic conditions on the freeways, monitor processor and ram performance- all without opening a window.

Vista_screenshot_1 Vista_screenshot_2

To really take advantage of the sidebar, you should set it to “always on top”. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have a wide screen monitor. I also like to keep the sidebar on the left side rather the (default) right. That serves two purposes: it gives a cool margine-like feel to my windows; also, by moving my windows to the right, it nicely makes up for the fact that the text on most web-pages is left-aligned.

There are lots of cool gadgets out there that you can put on the sidebar. It is also possible to drag any gadget from the sidebar to somewhere else on the screen- gadgets frequently respond to this advancement by becoming larger or changing shape. Some must-have gadgets are:

1) A weather tool bar — I like the one that uses the Weather Channel feed, other good ones are accuweather and wunderground. Update: I now prefer the weatherbug gadget, mainly because it has many more weather stations, including one that’s located right where I live.

2) An app launcher — This outstanding gadget gives you one click access from the sidebar to your favourite folders, applications, links – you name it! It is a real time saver and also frees up valuable screen real estate.

3) A sticky note — Valuable for reminders.

4) A dictionary — I like this one. Update: I now use the more versatile and powerful Ultimate Explorer.

5) A CPU/RAM monitor — There are many gadgets that do this task, including one that comes by default with the operating system, but quite simply nothing beats this particular monitor, a fantastic creation that works better than any other similar utility that I’ve tried.

There are many more beautiful – and useful – gadgets. Radios, video and music players, rss readers, clocks, calculators, games… go explore!

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Continuing on the topic of involuntary commitment, here is a good news story.

The decision ends by stating that the involuntarily hospitalization of a person is such a “massive curtailment of liberty,” it requires the state to meet a high burden of proof to hospitalize the person. The court found that the state did not meet that burden.

It seldom does. In this particular instance, the state actually appealed a lower court decision, so badly did it want to take away the liberty of a man who has not even committed a crime!

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