Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Can Aloe Vera Gel Heal Burns?

The claim: Aloe vera gel can heal burns.

The facts: Aloe vera has been a common skin-care remedy since Greek physician Dioscorides advocated using it for burns in the first century AD.
              It’s only in recent years that scientists have conducted research o determine whether it lives up to its reputation, some have found that aloe contains certain anti-inflammatory compounds and may act as an antibacterial agent. However, studies on its effects on minor and moderate burns have been mixed
              In 2007, for example, a study in the journal Burns analysed data from four controlled clinical trials involving 371 patients. Some were treated with topical aloe vera and others with placebo.
              Patients in the aloe vera group appeared to have slightly shorter healing times, but the evidence was not convincing and the authors recommended further research.
              In another study, scientists applied aloe vera to second-degree burns and compared it with other types of treatment. They found that it “hindered the healing process” when compared with a common antibacterial cream.
              Then in 2008, still another study looked at aloe vera applied to burns for six weeks and found that it decreased “subdermal temperature within the skin” but did not reduce bacteria or speed the regeneration of skin.

Bottom line: Inconclusive. Studies of aloe vera’s effect on burns have produced conflicting findings.

- The New York Times 

Monday, 29 September 2008

The Obstacle In Our Path

              In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. He hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear. 
              But none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. 

              The peasant learned what many of us never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition. 

Sunday, 28 September 2008


              It was opening night at the Orpheum and the Amazing Claude was topping the bill. People came from miles around to see the famed hypnotist do his stuff. 
              As Claude took to the stage, he announced, “Unlike most stage hypnotists who invite two or three people up onto the stage to be put into a trance, I intend to hypnotize each and every member of the audience.”
              The excitement was almost electric as Claude withdrew a beautiful antique pocket watch from his coat. “I want you each to keep your eye on this antique watch. It’s a very special watch. It’s been in my family for six generations.’’ 
              He began to swing the watch gently back and forth while quietly chanting, “Watch the watch, watch the watch, watch the watch …"
              The crowd became mesmerized as the watch swayed back and forth, light gleaming off its polished surface. Hundreds of pairs of eyes followed the swaying watch, until suddenly it slipped from the hypnotist’s fingers and fell to the floor, breaking into a hundred pieces. 
              “Shit!" said the hypnotist.
              It took three weeks to clean up the theatre.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Works of Art

More creations using colour pencil stubs.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Works of Art

Came across these beautiful creations using colour pencil stubs. I would never have the creavitity for something like that.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Soya - Good or bad for health?

               At first, they say soya is good for me. So I try to have soya of some sort every day. Then they say soya is actually not so good. I don’t quite believe them, but to be on the safe side, I cut down on my soya intake. 

              Now they are saying that it is good for some people in a certain state of health and set of circumstances, and not so good for others in another state of health, and set of circumstances. 

              I might not be a scientist, nor a dietician, but I have a couple of conclusions of my own. Firstly, all food is good for the body, as long as taken in moderation. Secondly, whatever scientists claims, take it with a pitch of salt. Give them enough time and they will come up with a counter-claim. 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  

              To bean or not to bean, that is the question facing many health-conscious consumers when it comes to soya goods.
              With tons of studies being published on the effects of the soya bean on human health in the last few decades, the soya bean has been both celebrated and vilified.
              Mind Your Body (a weekly health supplement of the local paper) sifts through the conflicting claims. 

1. Reduced breast cancer risk
              Soya beans, not diamonds, may be a girl’s best friend. A recent study by the National University of Singapore and two American universities found that eating a serving of soy bean curd or drinking a glass of the milk every day reduces the risk of breast cancer in Chinese women in Singapore.

2. Male fertility unaffected
              Men who enjoy soya can take heart and hang loose again. Dietitians Mind Your Body spoke to were skeptical about recent reports claiming that eating half a serving of soya-based foods a day could lower a man’s sperm count.
              Ms Pauline Chan, senior nutrition consultant at Food and Nutrition Specialists, said that scientific reviews from the Soyfood Association of North America showed that the study, which had only 100 subjects, actually found that soya food intake was unrelated to sperm quality and male fertility. Instead, obesity maybe a cause for the low sperm concentration found in the men with high soya intakes. 

3. Increased risk of gout and kidney stones
              Eating too much soya products can lead to kidney stones or gout, many studies suggest. Soya contains oxalates which cannot be absorbed by the body and are excreted only through urine. Oxalates bind to calcium to form kidney stones which can block the urinary system.
              Gout is caused by the build-up of uric acid in the blood stream, which occurs when the body breaks down substances called purines, found in foods like liver, soya beans, tofu and meat.
              Mr. Benjamin Lee, nutrition manager of the adult and elderly health division at the Health Promotion Board, said that doctors usually recommend that those with kidney problems to eat fewer of these products as oxalates may increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
              However, Ms Grace Quek, dietitian at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, said: “Soya per se is not the culprit. It is the total intake of purines including those from protein foods like meat, milk, seafood and organ meats.”

4. Good for the heart
              Many studies conducted in the last two decades have found that soya can lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
              Ms Breda Gavin, senior nutrition consultant at Food and Nutrition Specialists, explained that soya protein helps to reduce the LDL (or bad) cholesterol. The presence of soluble fibre in soya also helps to reduce cholesterol in the blood.

5. Higher risk of memory loss
              A study released in July by Britain’s Loughborough University suggested that eating high levels of some soya products – including tofu – may raise the risk of memory loss.
              Asked if the ingredients in tofu can lead to higher incidences of dementia, Dr. Reshma A. Merchant, consultant geriatrician at National University Hospital’s department of medicine, said: “Tofu is made form coagulants including salts and acids which could be contributory factors.”
              She added that soya has been found to reduce brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in male rats. Reduced BDNF is known to cause brain cell atrophy and is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
However, she qualified: “Further studies are needed.”

6. Post-menopausal women reap benefits
              Soya is kinder to the fairer sex, it seems – but read the fine print.
              A Canadian study on the health effects of soya protein published in The Journal Of Nutrition in June concluded that soya intake helps to prevent bone loss in post-menopausal women but does not improve hot flashes or other menopausal symptoms.
              Ms Lim Su Lin, chief dietitian and manager at the dietetics department at National University Hospital, said: “People of all ages, races and both genders benefit from eating soya. However, most studies that indicate the benefits of soya are skewed towards post-menopausal women in terms of lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and breast cancer risk.”

Monday, 22 September 2008

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

              Two travelling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion’s guest room. Instead the angels were given a space in the cold basement. As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. 
              When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, “Things aren’t always what they seem.” 
              The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night’s rest. 
              When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field. 
              The young angel was infuriated and asked the older angel: “How could you have let this happen! The first man had everything, yet you helped him. The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let their cow die.” 
              “Things aren’t always what they seem,” the older angel replied. “When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he couldn’t find it. Then last night as we slept in the farmer’s bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I told him to take the cow instead. Things aren’t always what they seem.” 

              Sometimes this is exactly what happens when things don’t turn out the way we think they should. If you have faith, just trust that every outcome is always to your advantage. You might not realize it until much later. 

Sunday, 21 September 2008

New Office Policy

Dress Code: 
1) You are advised to come to work dressed according to your salary. 
2) If we see you wearing Prada shoes and carrying a Gucci bag, we will assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise. 
3) If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you may buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a raise. 
4) If you dress just right, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise. 

Sick Days: 
We will no longer accept a doctor's statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work . 

Personal Days: 
Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturdays & Sundays. 

Bereavement Leave: 
This is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend the funeral arrangements in your place. In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early. 

Bathroom Breaks: 
Entirely too much time is being spent in the toilet. There is now a strict three-minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the stall door will open, and a picture will be taken. After your second offense, your picture will be posted on the company bulletin boa rd under the 'Chronic Offenders' category. Anyone caught smiling in the picture will be sectioned under the company's mental health policy. 

Lunch Break: (Love this one) 
* Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch, as they need to eat more, so that they can look healthy. 
* Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure. 
* Chubby people get 5 minutes for lunch, because that's all the time needed to drink a Slim-Fast. 

Thank you for your loyalty to our company.. We are here to provide a positive employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternation and input should be directed elsewhere. 

The Management 

Pass this on to all who are still employed!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

A Poem

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods;
There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes;
By the deep sea and music in its roar;
I love not man the less, but Nature more.

- Lord G.G. Byron 

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Do High Altitudes Increase Rate Of Getting Drunk?

The claim: You get drunk faster at high altitudes

The Facts: At a recent national convention in the mile-high city of Denver, the New York State Democratic Party warned delegates about the potential effects of drinking alcohol there. “Remember that drinks may go to your head faster than you’re used to in New York,” it said.

It’s an oft-repeated saying, based on the notion that lower oxygen levels at high altitudes impair the ability to metabolise alcohol, leading to quicker absorption and enhances intoxication. However, research suggests otherwise.

In a series of studies for the Federal Aviation Administration, scientists simulated the effects of altitude, performing blood alcohol tests on groups of subjects who drank in below ground-level and high-altitude conditions. They found no difference.

In other studies, scientists examined people at altitudes of 12,000 feet (3.6km) and higher and found that such heights, without alcohol, could induce a sort of fatigue that hampers mental and physical abilities.

Consuming four drinks at sea level worsened performance, much more so than altitude alone. However, combining high altitude and alcohol had only a slightly greater effect on cognitive performance.

The bottom line: Higher altitude can impair some abilities but studies suggest that it does not make alcohol more potent.

- The New York Times 

Monday, 15 September 2008

The Farmer’s Donkey

              One day a farmer’s donkey fell into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the donkey was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. So he grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. 
              The animal realized what was happening and cried even more piteously. Then, to the farmer’s amazement, he quietened down. 
              A few shovel loads later, the farmer looked down into the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer continued to shovel dirt into the well and onto the animal, the donkey continued to shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, the donkey was able to step over the edge of the well and trotted off! 

              Life is going to shovel dirt on you - all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! 

Friday, 12 September 2008

Just A Thought

I came upon the following paragraph in my scrap book. I am quite sure I didn’t write that. Yet the writer’s thoughts were surprising similar to mine – which is probably why I kept that. I remember feeling like a born-loser years and years ago. I guess all of us have our moments of insecurity. 

"In some of life's earlier moments, I was not at all sure of myself. I had, I think, a form of inferiority complex that made me feel useless and incompetent. Not many other people saw me that way, thank goodness, and now I have a more realistic appreciation of myself. But I still tend to take a secondary role if anyone else shows the desire to lead, and I don't crave the spotlight."

Thursday, 11 September 2008

A Message

A poignant message for all 

              First I was dying to finish my high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. Then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough so I could go back to work. But then I was dying to retire. And now I’m dying. And suddenly I realized I forgot to live. 

              Please don’t let this happen to you. Appreciate your current situation and enjoy each day.

- An Old Friend 

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Are wrinkles worrying you? Sleep on it

              If you are considering anti-wrinkle creams or Botox injections for your face, it may be better to just sleep on the problem.
              Researches have developed a copper-oxide pillowcase to get rid of wrinkles and crow’s feet.
              Clinical trials, supervised by a dermatologist, were carried out on 57 volunteers for four weeks.
              Those using the copper-oxide pillows had fewer wrinkles, reported the Telegraph newspaper on Saturday.
               Cuptron, which makes copper medial dressings, developed the pillowcase. Said owner Jeffrey Gabbay: “The surgeon doing our wound-healing trial remarked how an increase in collagen was helping to heal wounds.
              “We wondered if it might work on fixing wrinkles and lines on the face. So, we had some copper-woven pillows made up and noticed that, over a few days of lying on a copper pillow, lines on the face started to soften.
              “It has been the most fantastic discovery. The fabric has an impact on all lines but is best at ironing out the finer lines.”
              Researchers believe moisture from the skin releases copper ions from the pillowcases. They, in turn, stimulate the production of collagen below the surface of the skin.

- The Telegraph 

Monday, 8 September 2008

Letting Go

              A master took his two students into a forest. There he took a hollow coconut with a small hole and inserted sweet rice. Then he tied it to a tree and waited with his students nearby. Soon, a monkey came along, sniffed the rice, inserted his paw, and screeched in frustration when he was unable to withdraw his paw (now a fist clenching the rice) through the narrow opening. 
               “Let go of the rice, silly! Run!” shouted the students, amazed by its obvious stupidity, but to no avail. 
               “What was the trap that caught the monkey?” asked the master. 
              “Rice,” said one student. 
              “The coconut,” said another. 
              “No,” replied the wise master, “The trap was greed - he only had to let go of his attachment to be free. Likewise, we are the ones who trap ourselves. We are always responsible. The real trap is always within, not out there. The causes of suffering are in us. External situations are only conditions.” 
              With that, he hacked the coconut open, and the unrepentant monkey ran away with a fistful of rice.

              Don’t be like the monkey. What is in your monkey fist that you still hold on to?

Sunday, 7 September 2008

A Little Bull

Three bulls – a great big bull, a average bull, and a shrimp of a bull – were hoofing down a country road when they spotted a whole bunch of gorgeous cows. The big bull snorted, said farewell to his companions, and leaped over the fence to join the cows. 

A little while later, the average-sized bull saw some average-looking cows and deserted his pint-sized pal.

The little bull, with a sigh, walked on all by himself. 

Which only proves that a little bull goes a long way.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Dick and Rick Hoyt

A father’s love for his son.

Friday, 5 September 2008

An Obituary

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: 

Knowing when to come in out of the rain; why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn't always fair; and maybe it was my fault. 

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn), and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). 

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. 

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. 

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. 

Common Sense was preceded in death, 

by his parents, Truth and Trust 
his wife, Discretion 
his daughter, Responsibility 
his son, Reason 

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; 
I Know My Rights 
I Want It Now 
Someone Else Is To Blame 
I'm A Victim 

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

A Mother's Love

A mother’s love not only knows no bound, it knows no species.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Getting High Faster On Diet Soda Mixers

The claim: Beware of drink mixers based on diet soda.

The facts: Usually it is solely the liquor component of a cocktail – not the mixer – that determines its inebriating effects. However, some people contend that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda speed up the absorption of alcohol.
              Odd, perhaps, but research has suggested it’s true. In a 2006 study, a team of scientists recruited healthy subjects and had them consume vodka cocktails. On some occasions, it was a 20-ounce drink mixed with a sugar-sweetened beverage, and on others it was a nearly identical drink mixed instead with a diet beverage.
              In the diet-mixer conditions, the alcohol entered the bloodstream about 15 minutes faster, and their blood-alcohol concentration was higher, peaking at 0.05 percent, compared with 0.03 percent with the regular mixer.
              One theory is that the alcohol is absorbed more quickly because there is no sugar to slow it down.
           A second study last year showed that alcohol was absorbed far more quickly when mixed with carbonated beverages than with flat mixers, possible because of the effervescence. As a result, experts say it’s best to choose flat mixers like orange or cranberry juice over diet sodas or juices.

The bottom line: Compared with sugar-sweetened drinks, artificial sweeteners can speed up inebriation.

- The New York Times 

Monday, 1 September 2008

Put Down Your Burden

              The venerable raises a glass of water and said to the audience: “How heavy do you think this glass of water is? It depends on how long you hold it. If you hold it for a minute, it is Ok. If you hold it for an hour, you will have an ache in your arm. If You hold it for a day, you will have to call an ambulance. 
              “It is the exact same weight, but the longer you hold it, the heavier it becomes. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, we will not be able to carry on, the burden becoming increasingly heavier. 
               “What you have to do is to put the glass down, rest for a while before holding it up again.”

              We have to put down the burden periodically, so that we can be refreshed and are able to carry on. When you return home from work, put the burden of work down. Don’t carry it into your home. You can pick it up tomorrow. 
              Take a REST!