Sunday, 31 January 2010

Three Old Guys


Three old guys are out walking.
First one says, “Windy, isn’t it?”
Second one says, “No, it’s Thursday!"
Third one says, “So am I. Let’s go get a beer.”

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Sixteen Girls And One Bicycle


I love watching acrobatic acts. This is awesome! These girls made it look so effortless. Absolutely brilliant.


Thursday, 28 January 2010

Man’s Greatest Power


Dynamic mind 
There is one power or energy possessed by man that is greater than any of the physical ones that the strongest in brute strength has ever exerted or that the natural forces of the universe have ever made manifest. That supreme of all forces is the creative power of man’s mind. 

If we will think but a moment, we will be impressed with the fact that the creative power of man’s mind is the only power in the universe within the control of man that is wholly and completely unlimited. It is not bound in its physical applications by time or space, by fortitude or resistance. It is not bound in its directional application by any of the physical limitations of matter or by any of the dimensional qualities of matter. It is not bound by the traditions of the past, the possibilities of the present, or the feasibilities of the future. It is unlimited in its scope, increasingly dynamic through its use, and inexhaustible in its supply. It is more tangible to those who use it than any of the other forces of the universe. On the other hand, it is invisible and intangible in its process. 

The creative power of man’s mind needs no mechanical channels through which to disperse itself and no artificially created accumulators to hold it. It is available night and day in all places and for all purposes. 

While the physical eyes of man, and the greatest of his creations, can see but darkly and dimly through the material things of life, the creative power of his mind can enable him to see through the thickest walls, through the most opaque objects, through the densest of matter, through that which even the rays of the sun and the rays of electricity cannot penetrate. Although man must be physically present in any place to exert the physical energy of his body, he can be distantly absent from an object which he wishes to affect by the power of his mind. 

Whereas man can physically deal only with those things which he has created or is now creating, or with those things which already exist, the power of his mind can deal with uncreated things in the physical world. It can constantly create them in mental form and work with them, even though invisible and unseen to the physical eye. Although man’s physical creations must ever take into consideration the physical laws, such as that of weight, the push and pull of gravitation, the three dimensions of matter, and the chemical nature of things, man’s creative power is unaffected by these laws and principles. 

Man’s creative mind can do the impossible things as viewed by the physical senses. This marvelous mental power can build a castle of stone and steel and suspend it in mid-air with stability and dependability. 

The creative power of man’s mind can span the oceans in the twinkling of an eye; it can annihilate space and neutralize time. It can project itself through the most defiant and resistant creations of the physical world. It can foresee and pre-create the things of tomorrow and the things of a century hence. It can wipe away instantly and without a moment’s hesitation the false creations of the past and the things which man labored for years to construct. It can view a material thing and deny its existence and have it disappear from its inner sight. It can create beauty where beauty does not exist. It can paint with colors where no colors are seen. 

Man’s mind can transmute metals and change one form into another. It can take the wealth of the world and bring it to the feet of the needy. It can cure disease. It can mend broken bones. It can restore lost limbs and raised the dead. It can solve every earthly problem, dissolve mountains into valleys, and raise mountains into high plateaus. It can neutralize trails and tribulations into joy and into happy song. It can turn hate into love and enmity into friendship, jealousy into adoration, and evil into good. 

Why, then, has man failed to become the conqueror of the world and the Divine Master of the whole of his life? If man possesses this sublime and supreme of all powers, why is he then found in grief and sorrow, want and need? The reason is not that with some the power of the mind is wanting, nor that with the altitude it is not ever available: it is that man fails to give recognition to this power and to its application. 

Even here man himself can use the very power to overcome that which has kept him from its use. If it is but knowledge of the power the way to apply it that is wanting in the life of man, then the power itself can be used to overcome these obstacles and to break away these barriers and to destroy these limitations. In whatever position man may be in life, the creative power of his mind is available to him if he but calls upon it to help him remove the barriers that stand between him and its useful application. 

Today’s need 
Therefore, lift yourself up to the mastership that can be yours through the use of this magnificent power. Let the greatest of all forces in the universe serve you and do your bidding. As you think and create in your mind, so shall you build and accomplish and bring into realization. If to you there comes the belief that your mental creations cannot be transferred into actual realities, you can still use the creative power of mind to overcome this false belief, and to prove to yourself that what you will to be will become manifested. 

What the world needs today in this new cycle of advancing civilization is a new race and a new age of peoples who will create with the greatest of all creative powers the things that are supreme and are the most essential in the life of man. What man needs today more than anything else, is self-mastership so that he may no longer be a dependent slave suffering under the limitations of his possessions and wanting the things that seem to be impossible of possession. Let the new urge in your lives be an urge of dominant control through unlimited creation and by the application of this unlimited power. 

Of all the creatures living and having their existence in the life of God, man alone possesses this greatest of creative powers. It cannot be that God has given to man this ability to mentally create, to mentally foresee and fore-build the things of tomorrow, without having intended that these things be realized in their fullest degree. If man in the past has pinned his faith to the material world and has believed that only those things which are created of matter and through the forces or energies of nature are real and actual, it is no credit to him that he has thus limited his world of existence to mere physical form. 

It is time now that he should lift himself beyond the physical world and find that in the spiritual, mental world, in the etheric existence around him, he can build and create, have and enjoy, the things that are beyond the physical – the things that are more essential, more real and dependable, than any that the atoms of nature or the electrons of spirit can created. It is time that man frees himself from the wholly fictitious, the truly unreasonable, the cosmically unsound, and the inadequate creations of the physical world. 

The most pleasant, the most satisfying, the most enjoyable, and the most needful things of our physical existence are merely pleasures of the flesh. They are all sycophantic in their appeal to the sensuous part of our natures. Man has ignored the fact that the only laughter that has ever given him real joy, the only happiness that has mad him feel the sunshine of life, the only food that has ever satisfied a real hunger, the only wealth that has ever given him any degree of relief from want, has been that which appealed to the spirit and mind within him rather than to the flesh of his body. 

Why not, then, lift yourself above and beyond the continued satisfaction of physical wants, while you are suffering the limitations of physical things, and use the great power within the purpose of creating in reality and turning into actuality the things that will bring real life, real happiness, and real mastership. Let your life henceforth be one of living realism through the creative power within you that knows no limitations and finds its source in the goodness of God’s love. 

- Dr. H. Spencer Lewis 

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Mind – A Human Radio


I find this article intriguing. 

To thoroughly understand the power of thought without resorting exclusively to psychological principles, we should turn first to physiology and understand that all nerve energy is electrical. 

Mesmer’s Experiments 
It was Mesmer who discovered a method of proving the ancient mystical principle that all nerve energy is electrical. 

In Mesmer’s time the science of electricity was not greatly advanced except in the laboratories of the mystic, the alchemist, and the free-lance investigator who was not bound by traditions or principle of science; therefore, many thing now common knowledge in electricity were not known. 

Mesmer believed that if the nerve impulse in the human body was electrical in nature, then more than just physiological manifestation would result from such an impulse, and there would be put into operation some secondary impulse or radiation of the original impulse which would move out side of the human body. In other words, he came to the conclusion that if the nerve energy in the human body was directed and concentrated to points in the fingers, then in addition to merely producing a physiological effect within the finger, a secondary effect in the nature of radiations of that energy would result, and this secondary effect would tend to radiate or move outward from the point or place of the original impulse. This led him to believe that there would be radiations from the ends of the fingers in the form of very subtle waves of power or energy which could be detected by sensitive persons or perhaps sensitive instruments. 

It was unfortunate, indeed, that Mesmer’s early experiments took on the form of such test of these radiations as were soothing and quieting to the nervous systems of other persons, and caused them to go to sleep or to go into a quiet, peaceful, relaxed condition. 

Healing Power 
We know today that such conditions as this not only quiet the nerves and cause a sleepiness, but tend to cure nervous troubles and establish a condition of harmonium in the body where disease and pain are lessened. That is the reason why so-called magnetic healers have been able to produce such wonderful effects by the use of their hands, and this explains why many of the great Masters in the past, and especially the Essenes, were able to do such wonderful healing by the laying on of hands. 

However, the ignorant populace became fearful of this sleeping condition, and compared it to some strange coma or trance condition that might come to the patient. They wrongfully believed that if the “magnetic fluid” which emanated from the end of the fingers of Mesmer or other persons could produce a light sleep or a peaceful condition, that a little more of such fluid or a continuation of such treatments might cause them to go into a very deep or endless sleep. Such a conclusion was absolutely false and groundless, as we know today, but in Mesmer’s day fear and superstitious beliefs, based on ignorance of facts, were always easily developed in the minds of persons and adopted as truths without investigation. 

Therefore, Mesmer was accused of having devised a method of inducing trance or deep sleep. This condition was called Mesmerism, and later was likened unto hypnotism, whereas in fact there was no relationship to hypnotic sleep in anything that Mesmer really did. Because his experiments were dubbed and considered wrongly in this manner, the scientific and medical worlds ridiculed him, and his work had to end with disgrace to himself and to the ideas he tried to establish. 

The Body’s Electrical Energy 
Now the whole truth of the matter is that not only is the nerve energy in the human body electrical, but it is like unto electrical energy of the kind we know in connection with all other electrical manifestations, in other words, it is composed of a negative and positive polarity and is a result of the relationship of a negative and positive stress attempting to coordinate themselves in a proper flow through a given channel. Therefore, the manifestation of this nerve energy is an alternating manifestation, consisting of phases of rest and action, or inactivity and activity, causing an undulation impulse of such rapid beat or at such a rapid rate as to seem to be a continuous and uninterrupted flow. 

I have said that science acknowledges this electrical nature of the nerve energy, and yet I must say that such acknowledgement is of only recent date, and was thoroughly presented only a few years ago in some very complete text books on physiology, written by such eminent authorities as to remove all question of the correctness of the statements. Until this fact of electrical nature of nerve energy was established, no one knew scientifically what it was; and scientists and physicians especially did not know and did not seem to care, since they were concerned mostly with the flow of the nerve energy and its manifestations. 

The relationship of this nerve energy to thinking is interesting. We know that the brain is the control board of the human nervous system, and it is, therefore, the control board of the electrical system of the human body. All impulses that move along the nerves of the human body do so electrically, as though moving along electric wires. When we put our fingers upon some things, the contact with a different substance causes them to receive an electrical or reflex contact with matter having a different polarity or potentiality than that of the human nervous system. The result is that that contact or impulse is transmitted electrically along the nervous system to the human brain, and there it is transmuted or translated into an impression, and we have a consciousness of what we have touched. 

A certain number of vibrations traveling along the nervous system to the brain and registering themselves there create impressions or thought forms which are realized by the consciousness. 

Vibrations and Thought Forms 
Now we see by this that thoughts are thought forms, and thought forms are electrical impulses. A note on a violin string is composed of a certain number of vibrations and the difference between one note and another is a difference in vibrations. The difference between one color and another is a difference in the rate of vibrations. And the difference between the sensation of a substance that is hard and a substance that is soft is a difference in the rate of vibrations started at our fingertips and transmuted to our brain control board. Therefore, at the human brain centers the nerves of our body are constantly impressing and registering impulses of various rates of vibrations, which in turn produce thought forms. 

As I dictate this article, my eyes wander about my room, and I am receiving numerous impressions by sight, all of them being transmitted by vibrations to the brain centers, where they are translated into thought forms of pictures. I hear my own voice speaking, and my stenographer hears my words. The words which I speak are transmitted, by vibrations of an electrical nature, through space to the nerves attached to the drums of her ears, and there through the impulses received on the eardrum send forth vibrations again along the nervous system to the centers of the brain, where such vibrations register themselves and create thought forms which become sounds. 

The same is true of tasting and smelling. During our waking consciousness as we move about, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling, we are probably having thousands of impressions transmitted to our brain every second, and these are rapidly translated into thought forms and realized as such by the translating process of our consciousness. 

I am passing over the other phenomena of the nervous system that deal with the transmission of impulses from the brain centers to various parts of the body, as for instance, when one is writing, the brain sends out vibrations along the nerves to the hand and the fingers, which cause pulsations of muscle energy, causing the muscles to retract and expand and thereby move the hand and fingers in the process of writing. The same is true in the process of walking, breathing, eating, and doing any of the other hundreds of things which result from the operation of nerve energy upon the muscles of the human body. 

Going back again, however, to the thought forms produced in the human mind by the radiations of the electrical impulses there, we should understand one additional manifestation of these thought forms or impulses which general science does not take into consideration, because it is outside of its fields of experimentation and research. The mystic contends and demonstrates, through various applications of natural law, that every time an electrical or vibratory impulse at the brain centers causes a thought form to be created, the impact upon the consciousness of that thought form and the directing to it of the higher vibrations of consciousness, cause that thought form to radiate vibrations of itself outwardly into space. 

Thought Forms through Space 
These vibrations radiate like the vibrations from the antenna of a transmitting broadcasting station. They will go into space and impinge themselves upon the receptive nerve centers of other human beings who may or may not be conscious of the reception. But just as a receiving station or a receiving set must attune itself by proper balance and by the proper harmony of its capacity and induction, so that the slightest change of polarity coming upon it will be quite manifest, so must the human consciousness and nerve system become attuned to the incoming vibrations of thoughts. 

This brings me to the concluding and important point regarding thought form. During the process of translating the low vibrations of the nerve energy of the nervous system in the human body to thought forms which will be recognized by the human consciousness, the vibrations of these nerve impulses must be increases or stepped up to the higher rates so that they will be within the scale of vibrations of human consciousness. The human consciousness is a part of the soul energy, and the vibratory rate of this energy is so much higher than the vibrations of the nerve energy that the two sets of vibrations are in entirely different periods of the space of vibrations. The soul consciousness vibrates in the highest octaves of the scale, while the electrical nerve impulses of the nerve system are in one of the lower octaves of the scale. 

The human nervous system is designed to recognize and sense all the impulses of the lower octaves, but it is the nerves of the sympathetic nervous system that are sensitive to the vibrations of the higher octaves. That is why thought waves make very little impression upon our nervous system, if at all. But it is also the reason why we must develop the sympathetic or psychic nervous system to a keen perception of the vibrations which it has not learned to notice, or which it misunderstand if it receives them at all. 

Therefore, psychic development in one sense means the development of the sympathetic nervous system to such high attunement that it becomes more and more sensitive to all higher rates of vibrations from within and from without the human body. As soon as this development is underway, we become more and more sensitive to external impressions of all kinds and we become like a very fine radio receiving set that is susceptible to close and sharp tuning, covering a wide scale of frequency. If we stop to realize that the human mind is always, even from childhood, a potential radiating station of thoughts and thought form, we will be more careful of what we think and what forms of thought we allow to develop in our consciousness so that we may always, transmit, as we will always want to receive, only the best, the kindest, and most loving thoughts. 

- Dr. H. Spencer Lewis 

Monday, 25 January 2010

Flu Virus Hardier Than Cold Virus


The claim: Flu viruses live longer on surfaces than cold viruses.

The facts: Most people know that cold and flu viruses can contaminate doorknobs, taps and other surfaces. But for how long?

Studies have found that the survival time for both kinds of viruses varies greatly, from a few seconds to 48 hours.

The reasons have to do with a number of factors, including the type of surface, humidity and temperature.

For example, cold and flu viruses survive longer on inanimate surfaces that are non-porous, like metal, plastic and wood, and shorter on porous surfaces, like clothing, paper and tissue.

Most flu viruses can live one to tow days and non-porous surfaces and eight to 12 hours on porous surfaces.

However, a 2006 study found that avian influenza seemed particularly hardy, surviving as long as six days on some surfaces.

Cold viruses, however, deteriorate quickly. A study in 2007 found that when objects in a hotel room - light light switches and telephones - were contaminated with a cold virus, 60 per cent of healthy volunteers picked up the virus when they touched one of the objects an hour later. Eighteen hours later, the transmission rate was cut in half.

On skin, cold and flu viruses generally last less than a few minutes, but that can be plenty of time. Studies show that most people their hands or mouth several times in the course of daily activities - enough to cause infection.

The bottom line: Flu viruses tend to survive longer than cold viruses.

- The New York Times 

Sunday, 24 January 2010

A Dime For A Cup Of Coffee


              A bum asked Jones for a dime so he could get a cup of coffee. Jones gave the bum a dime and followed him. 
              “Why are you walking behind me?” the bum asked. 
              Jones said, “I just wanted to find out where you could get a cup of coffee for a dime."

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Water – Mirror of the mind?


Another post on water. However, this one is a bit different, as you will see. It might be a bit hard to comprehend from a layman’s point of view but if you have some background in mystical or metaphysical studies, you might be able to understand it better. However, how true is this? You will have to judge for yourself. 

If you wish to know more, here’s a link for you.
If the link doesn't work, you have to copy and paste it. 

Water is literally everywhere, and we are 70 percent water. But for one man, water is a mirror of the mind. This fascination with Adam’s ale has led Dr Masaru Emoto to conclude that molecules of water are affected by our thoughts, our emotions and our words. 

Water, in short, has emotions. It shows the healing power of love and gratitude, says this doctor of alternative medicines. 

The 63-year-old Japanese has spent many year studying water and has written two books on, well, water, which were on the New York Times bestseller list. 

Among his conclusions: 
‘Different’ water form different crystals. Water from natural sources, such as natural springs, underground rivers and glaciers, have complete crystals. 

Interestingly, tap water fails to form complete crystals, perhaps due to the added chlorine, he thinks. 

One experiment he did was to expose water to music. Classical music yielded well-formed crystals with distinct characteristics. But water exposed to violent heavy-metal music resulted in fragmented and malformed crystals at best. 

Extending the experiments further, pieces of paper with certain words were wrapped around bottles of water with the text facing inwards. Positive messages such as ‘thank you’ led to beautiful hexagonal crystals. 

But water responded to negative words such as ‘fool’ by producing malformed, fragmented crystals. 

Dr Emoto’s idea to link water crystals to emotions came about 12 years ago, when he pondered over the fact that no two snowflakes are exactly the same. 

If he could freeze water and look at the crystals, each should be unique. He got a young researcher in his company to start experimenting. After two months, success came in the form of a photograph of a beautiful hexagonal crystal. 

Since then, Dr Emoto has captured pictures of thousands of water crystals formed from experiments and published several books on the effect of words on water. 

‘The vibration of good words has a positive effect on our world, whereas the vibration from negative words has the power to destroy,’ he wrote in his book, The Hidden Messages In Water. 
This book, as well as The True Power of Water, have made it to the New York Times bestseller list. Several books have been published in 32 languages. 

What lessons can be gleaned from our relationship with water? 

Dr Emoto said the most beautiful and delicate crystal he has come across was formed by water exposed to the words love and gratitude. 

‘If we fill our lives with love and gratitude, this consciousness will become a wonderful power that will spread throughout the world. And this is what water crystals are trying to tell us,’ Dr Emoto says in his book. 

Dr Emoto is a graduate of the Yokohama Municipal University’s department of humanities and sciences with a focus on international relations. In 1992, he received certification from the Open International University as a doctor of alternative medicine. 

In an interview, he said: ‘We are all water. Study water, learn about water, then you’d understand yourself well… water is a mirror of our mind.’ 

Dr Emoto has also written about the effects of prayers on water. In 1999, he gathered 350 people on the banks of lake Biwa, a lake in Japan which was badly polluted. The purpose was to chant prayers to clean up the lake, and also for world peace. 

According to Dr Emoto, following the session, the lake’s putrid algae – that appeared each year and caused a stench – did not appear that year. 

He said: ‘I didn’t have any interest in religion before, but after studying water, I believe in the existence of God and the power of prayer.’ 

All energy is created by people’s consciousness.’ He said. 

Whatever one’s opinion about Dr Emoto’s perspective, one cannot help but be enthralled by the photos of the stunning and beautiful water crystals formed from natural sources or which have been exposed to positive influences. 

Will the pictures also provoke us to consider the impact of our thoughts and emotions and how they can be used to hurt or to heal? 

-Author Unknown 

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Plain Water’s A Beauty Product


Plain water is as much a beauty product as the expensive skin tonic you by for your face, say experts.

Adequate water intake enables our skin to stay smooth, supple and flexible, said Dr Richard Teo, an associate consultant dermatologist at Changi General Hospital. When we are dehydrated, our skin loses its natural firmness and flexibility.

Dr Alvin Wong, medical director of SKN MediAesthetics, explained that this is because water facilitates the supply of vital nutrients and oxygen to skin cells.

If there is an inadequate supple of water, harmful toxins will build up, he said. The skin’s health will suffer and skin problems might occur or get worse.

We need to drink about two to three litres of water daily although the actual amount for each of us depends on factors such as body weight and activity level, said Dr Teo.

However, there is no need to get carried away.

Although water does go a long way in maintaining good skin health, drinking large amounts does not guarantee a flawless complexion.

Dr Wong said many other factors combine to determine how dry or oily the skin is. External factors like the environment and skin care regimen, biological factors like genetics and the number of oil-producing glands and their functions all come into play.

Many people also believe that drinking lots of water can get rid of dry skin. Unfortunately, this is not true, said Dr Teo. To combat dry skin, one should apply moisturiser regularly, she said.

Another point to note: excessive contact with water, such as frequent washing of the face or hands, may actually dehydrate the skin further.

When water evaporates, this causes increased trans-epidermal water loss from the skin, she said. Trans-epidermal water loss is when moisture from the skin’s deeper layers is drawn to the surface and gets lost via evaporation.

In addition, tap water has the tendency to strip away oils that seal in moisture, said Dr Wong.

A common result of excessive dryness is hand dermatitis, where the skin becomes itchy and inflamed.

The increasing popularity of foods and beverages with cosmetic claims is also a cause for concern.

Dr Teo said we should find out what goes into such products before buying them as they may contain undesirable ingredients such as high sodium or sugar content.

“With the numerous advertisements in the media, it is often difficult to discern what is truly effective,” she said.

“It is best to stick to a well-balance diet to meet the daily requirement for vitamins and minerals that our body and skin needs.”

- Poon Chian Hui


Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Don’t Water Down Those Minerals


Dissolved minerals, or electrolytes, do more work than you might think – they play the role of gatekeepers, directing the flow of water in and out of body cells.

“The balance of electrolytes is closely tied to the balance of water in the body as one affects the other,” explained Ms Teo Kiok Seng, nutritionist at Nutrition Network Services.

“Very small changes in electrolyte levels in the various fluid compartments in our body cause water to move from one compartment to another,” she said.

With water being a major component of organs and tissues, electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and calcium are vital for numerous bodily functions.

Other than helping to maintain optimal heart, brain and muscle functions, these electrolytes are also involved in oxygen delivery and in regulation the body’s pH levels, said Ms Jaclyn Reuters, a dietician at Aptima Nutrition Sports Consultants.

The pH is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline a solution is.

“Hence, dehydration or over-hydration can result in electrolyte disturbances which can lead to life-threatening medical emergencies, such as irregular heartbeat,” added Ms Reutens.

Water and electrolytes are lost through the day via urine, stools, sweat and breathing, and must be replenished by consuming the right kinds and amounts of food and beverages.

Ms Teo recommended eating plenty of fruits and vegetables in addition to drinking water and other beverages.

“Fruit and vegetables are particularly good sources of water so make sure that you include them in your daily diet.” She said. “For example, water makes up 90 per cent of watermelon.”

However, you should not count beverages such as coffee and alcoholic drinks as part of your daily fluid intake. This is because caffeine is diuretic – it promotes urination while reducing your urge to drink. Alcohol inhibits the action of the anti-diuretic hormone, which prevents too much water from being lost through urination, said Ms Teo.

To replenish electrolytes, quick fixes such as a cheese sandwich with wholemeal bread, a chicken sandwich with a banana smoothie or a sports drink can do the job, said Ms Reutens. 

Such replenishment is even more important after exercise, as additional water and electrolytes will be lost through sweat. 

“If you exercise, drink up to an extra 1 litre of water. If you sweat heavily, take 750ml of sports drinks to replenish water and electrolyte loss,” she advised.

Older people should also take extra care to keep themselves hydrated. This is because people become less sensitive to the sensation of thirst as they age. Their kidneys also function less well, said Ms Teo.

“A simple way to check if you are drinking enough fluid is to check the colour of your urine,: she said.

“The more transparent it is, the more hydrated you are.”

- Poon Chian Hui 

Monday, 18 January 2010

How Much Water Is Enough?


Paying heed to the amount of fluids that we drink daily may be more important than you think.

While eight glasses water per day is a reliable guide, factors such as gender, level of activity, diet and body weight influence the exact amount of water that one needs.

“An individual’s daily water intake can vary widely,” said Dr Chin Khong Ling, a family physician at Healthway Medical Sengkang Clinic.

“Generally, adult females need 2.2 litres while males need 2.9 litres of water daily, but this can go up to 4.5 litres for those doing manual work in high temperatures,” he added.

This is because exertion causes the body to lose water through sweat. Other than perspiration, water is also lost through breathing, urine and stools, said Dr Wong Wei Mon, s senior physician at Raffles Medical.

Even mild dehydration, which refers to a fluid deficit of 2 per cent, can wreak havoc on one’s body and mind.

“Physically, one may experience perceived or real muscle weakness,” said general practitioner Karen Soh of Pacific Wellness Centre. “Psychological effects include tiredness, headaches and a reduced ability to concentrate and analyse information,” she said.

Research such as a 1998 study published in the European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition found that mild dehydration decreases mathematical ability, visual-motor function and short-term memory. Later studies also found adverse effects on perception and reaction time.

The reason for such serious consequences is water’s key role in major bodily functions.

“Water makes up more than 70 per cent of most tissues, including muscle, skin and visceral organs.” Said Dr Wong. “Our bodies need water for blood circulation, digestion, to maintain body temperature and for hormonal communication between the organs.”

All three doctors agreed that thirst is a poor indicator of dehydration.

“By the time you get thirst, it is too late,” said Dr Wong adding that we should drink water frequently throughout the day and avoid too many diuretic beverages like coffee and alcohol, which promote water loss through urination.

However, one should not overdo drinking either. Too much water leads to water intoxication, where electrolyte levels in the blood stream are diluted to very low levels, warned Dr Soh.

“Water intoxication can occur in endurance athletes who drink plain water without replacing the electrolytes lost through sweat or in those involved in low-intensity exercise but who over-hydrate in the belief that tremendous water intake is beneficial,” she said.

Dr Soh added that such cases are rare as the kidneys will try to remove the excess fluid, and one should consider electrolyte-containing beverages after physical exertion instead of plain bottled or tap water.

- Poon Chian Hui 

Friday, 15 January 2010

The Mystery of Creation


There has been no mystery which has intrigued man’s mind more than that of Creation. How and even why did all of Being, the whole Cosmos, come into existence? Was it through spontaneous generation, or was it predetermined? If it was spontaneous, was there a previously created contributing substance? To cite chaos as the spring from which the Cosmos came forth simply precipitates the question as to whether chaos has a quality in itself. If it had, then what was its origins? 

If one accepts the alternative, that is, the predetermined cause, he enters the realm of teleology, or Mind as the motivating force of Creation. This assumes that Creation was a primary idea, an objective to be attained; that it was premeditated. 

This conception engenders the idea of an embodied mind residing in a thinking, reasoning entity. The only parallel we have for such a mental capacity is the human mind. Therefore, it is quite understandable that men would think of such an Infinite Mind as an attribute of a Supernatural Being. 

If such a being had the faculty of planning, formulating ideas, it must also have other attributes similar to those of mortals, such as the emotions, passions, and sentiments. Thus the notion of gods was born. 

At first these gods were thought of as apotheosized humans; in other words, mortals who had attained a divine status. Later, the gods were conceived as self-generated beings, and eventually the belief in a monotheistic Being, a sole God, was promulgated. The sole God, too was thought to have been self-generated, that nothing had preceded such a Deity. These notions aroused polemic theological and ontological discussion; in other words, they centred around the enigma of the phrase, “self-generation.” Did the term generation imply a Creation from a pre-existing “something” that was transmuted into a Deity? Or did it mean the God came into existence from a void, a condition of non-existence from a void, a condition of non-existence? Even if the latter view is accepted, there is the implication that this non-existence is a negative reality. Once again we return to the repetitious question of “Whence came that state or condition which is given the reality of a ‘Non-Existence’? If it is realized and if it is named, is it not, therefore, a “thing”? 

The Metaphysical Aspect 
This brings us to another aspect of the subject – the metaphysical. Did the Cosmos pass through a nascent state, that is, did it necessarily have a beginning? This question involves the profound subject of causality. Are there actually such things as causes? Or are they but a percept, a mere abstract idea, of the human faculties? Aristotle, on his doctrine of causality, set forth four types of causes:
The material cause, of which something arises. 
The formal cause, the pattern or essence which determines the creation of a thing. 
The efficient cause, or the force or agent producing an effect.
The final cause, or purpose 

We will note that the first and third definitions imply a pre-existing condition; in other words, that something was, out of which something else came into existence. In fact, the third definition expounds that this pre-existing state, or force, brought a transition, a change in itself, which then was the effect. The fourth definition strongly suggests determinism, that is that all Being was self-designed to attain a particular ultimate state of condition. 

Is it not possible that attributing a cause to the Cosmos is due to man’s concept that for every positive state there is an opposite one of equal reality? More simply, that Non-Being exists also? That which is suggests non-existence as an opposite state out of which, it may be imagined, came the substance, the cause of that which has discernible reality. It is difficult to derive from common human experience the idea that there has never been a Primary Cause of All. 

As we look about us, we see what seems to constitute a series of specific causes by which things appear as the effects. However, what we observe as causes are in themselves but effects, too, of preceding changes. Due to our limited faculties of perception, we are unable to see an infinite number of apparent causes. We may presume that such do exist or think that there was an initial, that is, a First Cause, a beginning. In drawing on our experience with natural phenomena, we thus imagine that the Cosmos had some beginning. To theorize about such a beginning is only to return to the original perplexing question, “Whence did it come?” 

Ordinarily overlooked is an important doctrine in connection with the subject of Creation, and whether there was a beginning – namely, the doctrine of necessity. From a point of ratiocination, necessity is a state wherein a thing cannot be other than it is. Applying this doctrine to the question of the Cosmos and Creation, we must ask ourselves the question: “Was a beginning necessary?” In other words, could there have been anything other than the Cosmos? Nothing is only the negation of what is; it has no reality in itself. There can be nothing apart from what is. Since nothing is non-existence, all else then is by necessity – it must be. Being is positive, active; there is no absolute inertia. 

Energy and Change 
If the Cosmos is by the necessity of its quality of Being, that does not imply that it is amorphous; that it has an innate quality. In its spectrum of energy, the Cosmos goes through myriad changes of expression which constitute the phenomenal world. However, no particular phenomenon is the absolute reality of the Cosmos, but only a representation of its eternal motion. 

Is there a ‘closed Cosmos’? Is there a continuous cycle of phenomena repeating itself through infinite time, thus being a limitation of the nature of its activity? Were the phenomena which are now discernible to man always as he perceives them, and will they always remain so? Or were they different in the vast span of time, and will they be necessarily other than they are now known to man? It is consistent to think of all natural phenomena as part of a subjacent force, a unified field in essence; but in its absolute quality the Cosmos is active, never static. 

The doctrine of necessity is also applicable to those terms we refer to as Mind and Order. The commonly associated attributes of mind are consciousness, memory, reason and will. The persistence of natural phenomena, their recurrence, their striving to be, corresponds to the attributes of consciousness. The repetition of such phenomena suggests determinism, or will. The amazing organization of nature implies a parallel to the faculty of intelligence and reason. Such a similarity, however, does not confirm that the Cosmos is innately a Mind. However, to know is to have a mental image of the thing perceived or conceived. Man would feel personally lost in the complexity of existence if he could not conceive the Cosmos by some intimate idea. Therefore, the concepts here considered are those, with various others, by which man has found “a unity with the One,” as the mystics say. Such ideas become the God of man’s heart as well as of his mind. If one is wrong in his conception, all must be; for which alone can be said to be the absolute image of the Cosmos? 

- Author Unknown 

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Is the Theory of Evolution Acceptable?


The strongest objection to the theory that man has descended from lower organisms comes from the fundamentalist religious sects. They consider that the evolution of the species is a directed contradiction of the biblical story of creation and that it also tends to degrade man. 

The biblical account in Genesis conceives of man as a spontaneous creation, that is, a creation that came into existence in the physical form in which he now appears. It also states that man is the image of his Creator, that he is the highest creation in reference to the faculties and attributes that he exhibits. If, of course, the Bible is to be taken literally as being the exact word of God and on those grounds no further facts can be considered, then one conclusively closes his mind to all other knowledge. 

In numerous ways, it is shown by science by means of empirical knowledge that the Bible is a collection of legends, historical facts, and personal revelations. The Bible can be refuted in part, especially when one realizes that those who contributed to it lacked much of the knowledge available today. 

In the still popular King James version of the Bible, at the beginning of the opening chapter of Genesis, there usually appears the date 4000 B.C. as the time of creation. This date is easily refuted scientifically by geology, astronomy, archaeology, and Egyptology. It is known from the translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs and cuneiform tablets that there were well-established cultures that had been in existence for centuries at the time the Bible states as the beginning of creation. 

Geologists, by means of the so-called earth clock (the ages of the earth revealed in its strata), disclose that this globe has been in existence for millions of years. Radioactive carbon in objects can be recorded in such a manner as to establish their age accurately. This latest method of physical science has confirmed estimates that archaeologists have given to artefacts that far antedate the creation date set forth in the Bible. 

The modern space age and its space probes and explorations have put to a severe test the literal interpretations of the Bible. Science is not resorting to heterodoxy or heresy; it is, rather, impartially searching for truth. If it is established that life exists on other celestial bodies and not exclusively on earth and if other reigns equal to or superior in intelligence to man are found, this will then make erroneous the statement that the earth alone was selected as the habitat of an especially created being – man. It must be realized that the early prophets and contributors to the Old Testament accounts did not conceive of heavenly bodies as being other worlds. In fact, most of them were of the opinion that cosmologically the earth is the principal body in the universe. 

At the time when Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), astronomer, promulgated his idea that the sun and not earth was the centre of our universe, he became the victim of attack by the theologians. They accused him of detracting from the divine eminence and importance of man. Man was God’s chosen creation, they said, citing the Bible. The earth was created solely for him. 

Consequently, if the earth were not the centre of the universe and if it held a subordinate position, man’s status would thus be inferior, also. Copernicus himself wrote, “In the centre of everything rules the sun; for who in this most beautiful temple could place this luminary at another or better place where it can light up the whole at once? – in fact, the sun setting in a royal throne guides the family of stars surrounding him … the earth conceives by the sun, through him becomes pregnant with annual fruits.” 

Today, nearly five centuries after Copernicus, truth is again in conflict with religious orthodoxy. Even a high school student in his studies has the evolutionary process in nature demonstrated to him. Breeders of cattle and poultry know the mutations that result by special breeding; in fact, they depend on such for the improvement of their stock. The horticulturist and even the amateur gardener can discern the variations caused in plant growth and form by environmental effects. 

What seems to strike particularly at the human ego and dignity is the belief that organic evolution in relation to man means that “he comes from a monkey.” Most of those who acrimoniously inveigh against the theory of evolution have never read any of Darwin’s works or any other textbooks on the subject. Their opinion is that evolution is atheistically designed to attack their faith. 

Charles Darwin has not declared in his works that man is a direct descendent of any particular primate. His postulations and researches present the idea that there is “a tree of genealogical descent” and that there are related forms branching off from common parents. Simply put, he meant that life came originally from simpler common forms. In the passing of time, these common forms as parents had many branches from their original stock. These branches or their variations account for the different species due to natural selection and environmental factors. 

In his renowned work, The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin states that these variations account for different organisms as the result of competition for restricted food. Those with favourable variations survive and produce their kind. Man was not created as he is, but various factors in his existence, in his gradual survival, have brought about his organic structure. Further, the impact of present conditions will gradually make other changes in him. Man’s hands, for example, were not spontaneously given to him as they are, but their prehensile quality was developed with his need to cope with his environment. 

In his works, Darwin shows that the embryological development of the individual “tended to follow roughly the evolutionary development of their races revealed by fossil remains.” That is to say, the human embryo goes through changes which can be observed and which correspond to earlier forms of organisms whose fossilized remains have been found. This indicates that man preserves in himself the early forms of living organisms through which his physical being passed until he reached his present highest stage of development. 

Instead of this being shocking and detracting from the status of man, it actually indicates that man may not yet have reached zenith of attainment. There is the potentiality of still further development, which is a yet greater tribute to cosmic law and phenomena. We think that Charles Darwin beautifully expressed this thought in the following words: “Man may be excused for feeling some pride at having risen, though not through his own exertions, to the very summit of the organic scale; and the fact of his having risen, in stead of his being placed there originally, may give him hope for a still higher destiny in the distant future.” 

Organically, man is an animal. To try to separate physically or to distinguish the organic functions of man from other animals is an absurdity. The cells of the human have the same basic function, such as irritability, metabolism, reproduction, and excretion, as living cells in other forms of lower life. It is the physical vehicle of man which the evolutionary theory states is a product of evolution and continues to be. 

What reflection does this have upon the religious, the mystical, and philosophical conception that man is “a living soul”? Theology contends from its hagiography, its collection of sacred writings, that man alone has soul. From one point of view only can this postulation be supported. Man, at least, as the most intelligent being on Earth, has the most highly developed self-consciousness. 

It is this consciousness of his emotional and psychic nature that causes him to conceive that entity of his personality which he calls soul. He terms it divine, and it is divine if we designate all cosmic forces as being of a divine nature. It is erroneous to say that man alone has a soul. If, as previously stated, beings having a self-consciousness equivalent to man are found in the future to exist in the greater universe; then, certainly, they would have the equal right to claim such an entity as soul. 

Until man became Homo sapiens, a rational highly developed self-conscious being, he had only the essence of soul but no conception of it. In the lower animals, there is that same vital force and consciousness, which gradually evolved in man to its own awareness and designates itself soul. Those who fear that the theory of evolution demands the status of man will perhaps learn before another century has passed that there are many other factors that strike at mans egotistic conception of being “the central object of all creation.” 

- Ralph M Lewis 

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Creativity


Interesting! Using corks to do up the exterior of the house.








Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Full Moon Lunacy – The Magnetic Moon


The word lunacy comes from the notion of ‘moon-madness’. Recent reports suggest that psychoses do peak at the moon’s full-phase. 

Scientists believe that the full moon exerts an influence over life on earth. Investigations have unanimously confirmed that the moon has a mysterious “pull” on the potential criminals, causing them to commit some of the most horrendous crimes in the world. 

Perhaps, in the context of the full moon theory, it can be explained that the fanatics responsible for the killings must be under the influence of the approaching full moon. The effect of the full moon on their bio-rhythm must be so strong that it caused them to lash out their macabre monstrosity on the unsuspecting victims. 

It was also discovered that on any full moon or bright moon nights, the mental or psycho patients would suddenly become very fidgety and violent for no apparent reason. 

The magnetic force of the moon, although comparatively weak, does exert certain influence on the human body, disturbing the rhythm of a person’s sentiment and temperament. Findings also show that if there is high humidity or dampness on the night of the full moon, then more acts of violence will be committed. 

Scientists have also found out that there is a close affinity between the mode of our sleep and the ebb, or flow of the tides. The tides are found to be under the influence of the moon. It has been discovered that when excessive disturbances have been inflicted on those who suffer from insomnia on the full moon night, they are liable to be violent and prone to commit acts of violence. 

The above findings by the scientists have caused many to loose faith in the moon as a beautiful, mystical and serene planet. In the past, the moon has been traditional linked with romance and the mysteries of the moon have aroused the sexual passion of earthly creatures. 

One anthropologist who had made an exclusive study of the life and social activities of a village disclosed that such activities seemed to be more vigorous during the full moon period. The youths from this village tended to be more passionate and amorous. Erotic scenes could be seen in the love parks. 

It was also discovered that not only human beings are subjected to the direct influence of the full moon, but animals are also affected. The barking of dogs are found to be more strident on full moon nights. Even the fishes and sea animals are found to be more active and vibrant during the nights when the moon shines the brightest. 

The close proximity of the moon to the earth and the mutual attraction of both bodies have resulted in many unusual phenomena in the midst of our ordinary lives on earth. Though there is no universal acceptance of this hypothesis, yet the modest, or perhaps the massive researches have shown that the moon’s inherent celestial power will continue to exert its influence to cause havoc and horror on earth. 

- Author Unknown 

Monday, 11 January 2010

Best Cure For A Hangover? Time


Still feeling the effects of last night’s revelry? Then remember this the next time you imbibe alcohol: There is only one hangover cure. Time

The trick to avoiding the morning after is to drink lots of water, avoid darker liquors and not to go too crazy in the first place, said Los Angeles Times report.

Hangovers are caused by alcohol poisoning (and symptoms will not dissipate until your body metabolises all of the booze swimming through your bloodstream and gets its physiology back to normal.

Because alcohol is a depressant, your nerves react to compensate and the result is painful sensitivity to light and sound when you wake up in the morning.

The dehydration, thanks to the alcohol’s diuretic properties, does not help much either. Furthermore, the hangover symptoms are made worse by congeners or particles created by the fermentation process that give different spirits their unique colour and flavour. 

So nothing can really speed up that alcohol elimination process, though some think that eating food can goad the metabolism into speeding things up. Others swear by exercise, fresh air, sleep, coffee and even another alcoholic drink.

However, in a 2005 paper in the medical journal BMJ, the scientists who reviewed these options said: “Our findings show that no compelling evidence exists to suggest that any complementary or conventional intervention is effective for treating or preventing the alcohol hangover. The most effective way to avoid the symptoms of alcohol induced hangover is to practise abstinence or moderation.”

- The Los Angeles Times 

Sunday, 10 January 2010

The Best Advice


              During the trial, the judge advised the attorney for the defence to withdraw with his client and give him the best possible advice he could think of.
              After just ten minutes, the attorney returned alone. “Where’s your client?” asked the befuddled judge.
              “He’s long gone,” replied the attorney. “But he thanked me before he left. Said it was the best advice he’d heard in years.”

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Technology - The Next Leap?


Absolutely brilliant! Watch the video and be bowed over. Interesting to see what is their next step, and how they are going to introduce the new technology to the public.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/videoshow_ted/5231080.cms

If this link doesn't work, do a search on Google using this phrase
videoshow_ted/5231080

Friday, 8 January 2010

Polar Bear


This is another of those 'logic defying' incidents in life captured by National Geographic photographer Norbert Rosing. 

Striking images of a wild polar bear coming upon tethered sled dogs in the wilds of Canada's Hudson Bay. The photographer was sure that he was going to see the end of his dogs when the polar bear wandered in.

Polar Bear: I come in peace.








It's hard to believe that this polar bear only needed to hug someone!


The Polar Bear returned every night that week to play with the dogs.


Thursday, 7 January 2010

The Beginning Of All Things


Modern man is often reluctant to accept that his remote ancestors were endowed with keen intelligence and acute powers of observation. As a consequence, we tend to dismiss as mere nonsense accounts that have come down to us regarding the beginning of all things. Therefore, like wayward children who refuse to acknowledge the legacy of wisdom accumulated by our parents we often find ourselves adrift upon a sea of uncertainty. But the laws which operate within the human psyche continue to function, undisturbed by our periodic ignorance of their existence. 

The axiom of modern science which states that ‘matter can neither be created nor destroyed’ - matter is immortal. And since immortality is an attribute of God and the Cosmic, then matter is ‘the oldest of all things.’ Further, modern theories accounting for the origin and evolution of our solar system, and presumably the entire physical universe as well, are based on the existence of a sort of cosmic ‘plasma.’ Plasma is a state of matter that is neither gas, liquid, nor solid, but a sort of fourth, ‘fluid,’ state in which there are only free electrons and free atomic nuclei. From this ‘plasma’ the ions, atoms, and molecules that compose our physical universe are born. 

The Big Bang 

The most widely accepted theory accounting for the origin or creation of our physical universe is that referred to as the Big Bang Theory. According to this theory, the universe began in a giant explosion. Current estimates suggest that 20,000 million light years have elapsed since the Big Bang occurred. Because of the original explosion, our universe continues to expand and, according to some scientist, will continue to do so until it ‘runs down’ much as does a wound spring in a clock. However, this theory does not attempt to account for how our universe ‘wound up’ in the first place. 

A second theory holds that ‘there has never been a beginning.’ Instead of a single instance of creation, the proponents of this theory envision a universe in which new matter continually comes into being to fill the space created by the observed expansion of the universe. According to this theory, the appearance of the universe remains reasonably constant from age to age. However, most scientific observations indicate that the appearance of the universe constantly changes. 

An intriguing variant of the Big Bang is the theory of the Oscillating Universe. According to this theory, the universe is continually blowing up and contracting in cycles. An oscillating universe would have neither beginning nor end, but would go through cycles of expansion and contraction. Presumably it would ‘come into’ and ‘go out of’ existence in a rhythmic manner. 

In the face of the rejection of ancient knowledge by many people today, we need to account for the unmistakable correspondence, existing between ancient and modern view. Many people today also dismiss the idea of psyche or soul. Could the correspondence between ancient myths and modern science be in some way relate to the nature of psyche or soul? 

Our present level of understanding owes much to the knowledge gleaned by those brave men and women of past ages who dared to harness the creative power that ensouls our universe and characterizes the human psyche. As we stand in awe of this creative force, we may seek comfort in the wisdom of the ancients who assure us that true knowledge is always rediscovered. Our spiritual ancestors discovered that the laws and principles which operate in our world and within the psyche are eternal and ageless. They also sensed that the secret to experiencing creation involves a turning within. Ancient myths and legends down through the ages point to the maxim: “know thyself.” Through meditation we can each discover whether creation is a chance occurrence of the past, or whether creation is eternally present. Through meditation each of us can come to witness creation. 

- Author unknown 

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Origin of Life…. Through Chemistry


Another article from National Geographic 

The emergence of life on Earth is on a short list of the biggest unknowns in Science. Did life begin in a small, warm pond at the edge of a primordial sea, as Charles Darwin speculated? Or deep beneath that sea, around one of the burbling hydrothermal vents first seen in the 1970s? and never mind the where: What was it, this initial germ of life? Was it a cell? A replicating molecule? 

One of the most intriguing theories says that the answer to the mystery is right inside us. Biologist Harold Morowitz of George Mason University argues that our metabolism – the chemical reactions that allow cells to turn energy and atoms into biologically useful molecules – provides a long fossil record of Earth life. Morowitz and collaborator Eric Smith of the Santa Fe Institute believe that a central set of chemical reactions has been in place since life’s earliest moments about four billion years ago. These reactions involve just 11 small carbon molecules, such as citric and acetic acids - very ordinary stuff that would have been abundant on the young Earth. 

Those 11 molecules could have played a role in other chemical reactions that led to the development of such biomolecules as amino acids lipids, sugars, and eventually some kind of genetic molecule such as RNA. In other words, metabolism came first – before cells, before replication, before life as we commonly think of it. 

This is probably not what opponents of the teaching of evolution want to hear, but it seems that a kind of molecular natural selection applies event to the world of geochemistry. Some types of molecular chains outcompeted other molecular chains for the plant’s resources, and gradually they led to the kind of molecules that life depends upon – all this before the first living thing oozed forth. Many scientists say life wasn’t a freak accident at all, but the likely outcome of the interaction of the molecules and minerals of the Earth. “Life is an elaboration of something very simple.” Says Smith, “it looks easy and inevitable.’ 

Earth scientist Robert Hazen’s new book, Ge*ne*sis, says that many theories about the origin of life involve the principle of “emergence.” From simple beginnings, complexity can emerge. A classic example of emergence is in your brain. Individual neurons don’t think, but collectively they produce the emergent phenomenon we call consciousness. Says Morowitz, “the unfolding of life involves many emergences.” 

All this is sure to be a matter of contentious debate for a long time. But ours would not be so interesting a world if its ultimate secrets were easily discovered. It took us four billion years to evolve to a point where we could even begin the search. 

- Article by Joel Achenbach 

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The Universe


Origin 
Infinite Beginnings 
Pushing the limits of theory and imagination in true Einsteinian fashion, cosmologists are daring to speculate that ours is not the only universe. The big bang that created everything we know of space and time could be just one of an infinite number of beginnings, yielding a never ending sequence of universes. 

The scenario emerges from inflation theory, a descendant of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Relativity implies that space and time can stretch to vast dimensions from a tiny starting point; inflation describes how our own universe ballooned in its first moments and suggests that the same thing can happen anywhere, at any time. The result: an eternal expanse of space erupting with bubbles of energy, or big bangs, each the seed of a universe. Not all universes will be alike. While a cosmos like our own glows with galaxies, others may contain more dimensions or different forms of matter. In some, even the laws of physics work differently. 

Structure 
The Invisible Web 
Something out there holds swarms of galaxies together and keeps their stars from flying apart, but scientists still haven’t learned what this invisible substance is. Know as dark matter, it gathers to form a colossal cosmic scaffolding. Astronomers believe that galaxies formed at the densest points in this web-like structure, and the dark matter continues to hold them in place with its gravity. Its bulky presence can be detected by tracking stars on the outskirts of galaxies, which move at speeds that would be impossible if only visible matter – a galaxy’s other stars and gas – were pulling on them. Astronomers have also mapped this unseen substance with the help of an effect predicted by Einstein’s general relativity: dark matter’s gravity wrinkles space-time, bending light rays as they pass. Such measurements indicate that dark matter could make up 90 percent of the universe’s total mass. These days, cosmologists are searching for the identity of dark matter, trying to detect the elusive substance responsible for arranging everything we see in the sky. 

Expansion 
Fast Forward: the Bid Rip? 
The death of the universe could rival its birth in explosive drama if a puzzling form of energy continues to accelerate the expansion of space-time. Since the 1920s astronomers have thought the expansion was slowing down, but recent observations of distant stars reveal that the stretching of space is actually speeding up. If it picks up even more, the universe could be headed for a ‘big rip.” One of the many possible fates – shows how some 20 billion years from now, unchecked expansion could tear matter apart, from galaxies all the way down to atoms. The driving force is a mysterious “dark energy” that counteracts gravity’s pull and might ultimately defeat all the forces that bind matter. Einstein was the first to introduce the notion of repulsive gravity, but he later disavowed it. Dark energy, says cosmologist Michael S. Turner, who coned the term, “has the destiny of the universe in its hands.” Although we live in the best of times, under a sky full of stars, it will grow ever darker and emptier as space-time expands. 

- This Article was from the May 2005 issue of National Geographic 

Monday, 4 January 2010

Heavy Drinking Raises Prostate Cancer Risk


Aggressive tumours are more likely to occur in men who have more than four drinks a day at least five times a week.

Men who drink heavily may be raising their risk of developing prostate cancer, researchers said in a recent study.

In addition, the study found that the drug finasteride, which can help lower a man’s risk of the disease, appears to be unable to undo the damage of heavy drinking.

The findings come from a clinical trial which looked at whether finasteride lowered the risk of prostate cancer in nearly 11,000 men over seven years.

Of the men, 2,219 were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 8,791 remained cancer-free throughout the study.

The researchers found that men who drank heavily – four or more drinks a day on at least five days of a week – were twice as likely as non-drinkers to develop aggressive prostate tumours.

The risk was seen in men who received finasteride and those given a placebo.

In addition, when it came to less aggressive, slower-growing prostate tumours, finasterife cut non-drinkers’ and moderate drinkers’ risk by 43 per cent. The drug did nothing, however, for heavier drinkers.

The findings of the study, led by Dr Zhihong Gong of the University of California at San Francisco, were reported in the Journal Cancer.

Many of the established risk factors of prostate cancer cannot be controlled, such as age, race and family history of the disease.

Only a handful of suspected risk factors – including obesity, smoking and a high intake of animal fat – can be modified, the researchers said.

They added that more studies should be done to confirm the findings.

For now, they wrote, “physicians may choose to consider this finding when counselling men on reducing their risk of prostate cancer”.

They said that it would also be prudent for men on finasteride to limit themselves to no more than two or three drinks a day.

- Reuters 

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Bad Sportsmanship


              At one point during a game, the coach called one of his seven-year old baseball players aside and asked, “Do you understand what cooperation is? What a team is?” 
              The little boy nodded in the affirmative. 
              “Do you understand that what matters is whether we win or lose as a team?”
              The little boy nodded. 
              “So,” the coach continued. “I’m sure when an out is called, you shouldn’t argue, curse, attack the umpire, or call him a pecker-head. Do you understand that?”
              Again the little boy nodded. 
              The coach continued, “And when I take you out of the game so another boy gets a chance to play, it’s not good sportsmanship to call your coach a dumb asshole, is it?”
              Again the boy nodded. 
              “Good. Now go over and explain all that to your mother.” The coach said.