Monday, September 28, 2009

10 facts I recently came to know

1. Hippopotamuses – incredibly dangerous creatures – have a very unique ability: instead of sweating, they exude a pink liquid which is a natural sun block. This, and their ability to spend an indefinite amount of time in the water helps to keep them safe from the blistering sun.

2. Kangaroos can’t fart. They convert the small quantity of methane they produce into an energy source which their body reuses. Scientists hope that they will be able to transfer the bacteria that causes this in kangaroos to cows, to reduce methane emissions to save the world from the latest fashionable catastrophe: global warming.

3. During the Cold War, the US military developed a rifle that fired nuclear war heads. It was called the Davy Crocket and production of this smallest nuclear weapon began in 1956, with a total of 2,100 being made. The weapon was deployed with U.S. Army forces from 1961 to 1971.

4. Have you ever noticed that when you have a bowl of nuts, the bigger ones make their way to the top? This event actually has a scientific name: the Brazil Nut Effect. The term refers to the phenomenon in which the largest particles end up on the surface when a granular material containing a mixture of objects of different sizes is shaken.

5. Rhode Island is the smallest state with the longest name. The official name, used on all state documents, is “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.”

6. In 1859 a solar storm hit the earth (the largest in recorded history). It was caused by massive sunspots and solar flares. It was so intense that auroras were seen around the earth (even in the caribbean) and the ones over the Rocky Mountains were so bright that gold miners thought it was morning. It knocked out the telegraph systems of Europe and North America. If you wish to look it up for more information, it is called the “Solar storm of 1859″ or “Carrington Event”.

7. When correcting a person’s grammar on the Internet, invariably you make a grammatical error of your own. This is called Muphry’s Law (intentionally misspelt). Just remember that next time the grammar nazi in you decides to show its ugly head.

8. It is possible to get drunk in prison thanks to a special thing called “prison wine” or “pruno”. It is an alcoholic liquid variously made from apples, oranges, fruit cocktail, ketchup, sugar, and possibly other ingredients, including bread. Pruno originated in (and remains largely confined to) prisons, where it can be produced cheaply, easily, and discreetly. The taste is described as vomit flavored wine cooler.

9. The PhD is not the highest degree a person can receive. There is also a Doctor of Sciences (DSc/ScD) and Doctor of Letters (DLitt/LittD) which is normally awarded in Britain, Ireland, and the commonwealth nations though it is occasionally awarded in the United States. It is normally awarded for a substantial and sustained contribution to the art to which it applies – for example science and literature. Mark Twain was awarded a Doctor of Letters by Oxford University. Just to add to the confusion, there is also a PhB which is a bachelor of philosophy which is equal to a Masters degree despite its name.

10. Have you noticed that some people seem to have very appropriate (and entirely coincidental) names? Names such Usain Bolt (Jamaican sprinter), Lord Brain (brain surgeon). This is called an “aptronym” as in “aptly named”. Some people believe that the name can influence life decisions leading a person to work in a field relating to their name. This is called "Nominative Determinism".


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

7 * 13 = 28

Came across this awesome video in another site and thought it is worth sharing with others.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

8 myths of the Healthcare bill proposed by President Obama's administration

With all the yadayadayada talks and the finger pointing going on about the proposed health care reforms, I received an email from the White House (I had subscribed to their mailing list), as part of their efforts to spread the message, explaining some important details about the proposed bill. Included in the mail were some of the "myths" (as claimed by the White House) and I thought as a responsible individual I would also play my part in spreading the message.
Please be aware that I am not in a position to support or talk against the proposed health care reforms but one thing that I am sure of is that
  1. No one should be denied coverage just because they fall seriously ill
  2. No one should go broke just because they fell sick and could not afford health care bills
  3. No one should be uninsured and feel insecure all the time.
I am in for any reform that would guarantee these basics for all individuals irrespective of their status, race, gender or religion.

8 Common "myths" about the proposed Health Care reform
  1. Reform will increase "rationing": It’s a myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.
  2. We can’t afford reform: It's the status quo we can't afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.
  3. Reform would encourage "euthanasia": It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.
  4. Vets' health care will be affected: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.
  5. Reform will add burden on small business: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.
  6. Your Medicare benefits will reduce: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut" hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
  7. You cannot keep your current insurance or doctor: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
  8. Government will have access to your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts.  Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose.  Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.

Please keep in mind that by spreading the message I am not necessarily agreeing that these are indeed myths. The main reason being that I still have not gone thru the details of the bill for me to take one side or the other. But from what I have been following on CNN, I believe CNN has done a good job of researching on our behalves about these myths and confirmed that most of these are indeed myths and handiwork of republicans in spreading the wrong message. So I am kind of tilting to agree that these are indeed myths and not the truth, but still not 100% on that side of the court.

Go ahead and let me know what you think about the proposed health care reforms.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Life is Cheap, but Groceries cost a fortune!!!

This sticker has been on my fridge for almost 3 years now. Every time I see it, it sounded funny but correct. But it never struck me as a seed for a blog article here. Now that I am more into blogging, last night when I saw the sticker, it immediately struck me that I should blog about it and so here I am.

What do you think about this quote? Do you think it is true or not? Let me put forward my theory here. For me it sounds more true for an ordinary citizen than a VIP. As an ordinary citizen, are not we all working hard and trying to earn as much as we can just to feed ourselves and our families. Of course to be able to feed includes buying groceries. But when we die whatever fortune we earned until then is of no use as we have spent most of them in buying groceries and nothing comes with us.

Take the case of a VIP. A VIP like any national leader spends money on his/her groceries too but consider the amount that the government would be spending to safeguard his/her life by employing security guards, providing high-security modern cars and anything else that might give the ultimate protection for the leader. If we sum up the total costs of providing security to the national leader, I am sure it would be way above the cost of groceries to feed the national leader and his family.

With all the talk of American healthcare reforms going on, isn’t it true that in today’s scenario an ordinary citizen with any life threatening disease like Mesothelioma or any other type of cancer would eventually have to die probably due to the fact that his/her health insurance company refused to provide coverage any more or even refused to pay prescription cost which is obviously sky-rocketing by the day for all major illnesses. (I plan to write a blog very soon on the sky-rocketing costs of prescription drugs). When the individual dies for the reason that the insurance company refused coverage, would you not call it as the insurance company categorizing the individual’s life as cheap and of no value to be saved without realizing how important every minute of his/her life would mean for his/her family. So in this case eventually the individual’s life is cheap compared to all the groceries that he/she might have purchased in his/her lifetime.

Consider the same situation for a national leader. Do you think the insurance company, in this case the federal govt., would dare to refuse coverage for the leader just like any other ordinary citizen. I think you know the answer to this.

So I believe, in a way, yes Life of an ordinary citizen is cheap but Groceries cost a fortune for them. For VIPS’s Life is more expensive than the Groceries.

What are your thoughts on this? Let them roll by here.3


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