Hello, The children in my weekly post are on vacation, so it's just my post, you and I. Every week, about twenty of us get together and talk, then eat lunch -- always an important aspect of the meeting! We realized the six enemies of human beings are -- Lust, Anger, Ego, attachment, Greed and Jealousy. If we can get rid of them, the life becomes peaceful! A tough call but we can try. Then earlier this month, a friend sent an E mail about a grandfather and his grandson. The senior man said that two wolves are at a constant battle within us. The first on is the Evil wolf represented by Anger, Jealousy, Greed, Resentment, Inferiority, Lies and Ego. While the second wolf is represented by Joy, Peace, Love, Hope, Humility, Kindness, Empathy and Truth. The curious young mind wanted to know who won! The grandfather quietly replied, "The one you feed." As our lives go on, we hear, read about what and how we should live. Ultimately, the power to follow the right path rests upon us -- you are the decision maker of your life. Meera
Hello, The four siblings have a heart to heart talk in today's post. Meera
Heart to heart
The six-year-old twins brought a magazine to Sagar's room, "Bhaiya, tell us, what does this say about a blue whale? There's also a tennis ball with a hand around it."
Sagar read the captions, "It says that a blue hale has the largest heart, weighing more than 1500 pounds and a hand squeezing a tennis ball is the ..."
"We weigh thirty six pounds each."
"Girls, 1500 pounds is the weight of a whale's heart and the hand around a tennis ball says the heart works as heart as the energy it takes to squeeze a tennis ball."
Suchi said, "That's good, that's all about a heart, now tells us what is this about a choir?"
Their brother laughed, "Okay, a Swedish Research team has discovered that when a choir sings their hearts synchronize--they beat at the same time."
Soori said, "What, again about a heart? Okay, what about these laughing children?"
Sagar nodded, "Well, when you laugh, 20% more blood flows through the body, relaxing the blood vessels, making the heart healthy."
"What? Again the heart? We don't want to read it." Suchi threw the magazine in Sapna's lap and the twins left the room."
Sapna read on, "Bhaiya, don't you let some damsel break your heart, because that trauma will make your body release a stress hormone that will make your heart mimic a heart attack."
"Okay, I'll remember that. What else does it say about the human heart?"
Sapna said, "Here's something about the first heart transplant."
"Ha, I know that. Dr. Christian Barnard of South Africa did the first heart transplant and the patient lived for 18 days."
Sapna nodded, "Right. This is really interesting, as long as a heart receives a blood supply, it keeps beating even outside the body with its own electric impulse! Cool, yeah?"
Sagar said, "Yeah, real cool. Now let's cut it short, give me just a couple of facts okay?" Sapna, "Okay, okay, big boss... I could throw this paper at you and let you read it yourself. But I am being a good sister and a friend so I tell you a couple of things." Sagar made a face, "Thanks." "Okay then, number one, even the three thousand year old mummies had heart attacks...go figure their stress. And second fact, during one's lifetime a heart will pump enough blood to fill 200 train cars! And the last one, the heart spends enough energy pumping to make a truck drive 20 millions miles, equivalent of a distance to the moon and back!" Sagar said, "Thank you Sapna, that was enlightening. I think the mummies had the stress of building their pyramids. Now, back to my homework." Sapna tossed the paper on his table, "Go to your homework stress free and in peace, dear Bhaiya." She left the room.
I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. Today's post is also about 'inventions', engineering marvels.
Twelve-year-old, Sapna brought the article about re-inventions back to her 16 year old brother, Sagar, "Bhaiya, only one more re-inventions seems cool, the rest are just okay."
Sagar asked, "Oh, yeah, which one did you like?"
"This one, it's about an LED light installed in the the socket cover it self! In the evening it senses the darkness and lights up! Look at this cool picture,"
Sagar said, "I know, I saw it, but see there are some engineering marvels."
The twins joined the older siblings, "Can we also see them? Please?"
"Absolutely, see. Here is the biggest Solar Power ship, and this is really cool, a bowl made of chocolate! You eat the bowl and the contents!"
Suchi said, "Didi, let's make this chocolate bowl!"
Sapna looked at the picture, "Yep, it's doable. But let's look at a couple more of these marvels.'
Sagar scrolled down the computer screen, "Here is a cool chopping board for mom's kitchen -- it can tell you if the vegetables are clean or not! It can give you the step-by-step recipes, weigh the correct amount and the works -- well, it does not cook the veggies. Oh, there is this one about a cool tree house and the solar public lights in India somewhere, and ah, this one is about the the best car there is, a dome car, see!"
"Wow, Bhaiya, will you drive this car?"
"Ha, not a chance. I am happy if I get mom's or dad's old car when I get my proper licence."
It appears that science and technology come up with an invention almost every day. Some are worth waiting for while the others make you comment, 'oh, wow!' Often the wheel gets reinvented when the original invention gets tweaked and a better model comes. In this post some reinvented wheels are presented. Meera
Sagar smiled, "Oh, wow, this is cool."
His younger sister, twelve-year-old Sapna looked up from her homework and asked, "Bhaiya, don't you have any home work? Maybe you are impressed by the homework, I never find it worth saying 'oh, wow' in my homework.
"I haven't even started my homework yet, Dad left this interesting article on my desk, and all I can say is 'oh, wow.'
Sapna put her homework down and came to Sagar, "I want to see the article."
Sagar covered the article with his arms, "Wait, I want you to listen to it first and then see."
Sapna pulled a chair and sat by Sagar, "That's being rude, but okay, tell me."
"Rude or not, I have the article, my rules. You've seen a saw, right? It moves, back and forth and sometimes in a fraction of a second, an accident occurs, your nail or the tip of a finger or a leg or ..."
"Stop telling me all the body parts that get nipped, what's the invention?"
"Well, this saw can tell when your flesh is about to be nipped and it quickly moves away, preventing a chopped nail, a finger ... "
"Stop, I get it, the saw detects human flesh and moves away. Cool. Now show me the picture."
Sagar covered the picture, "Not just now, I am going to tell you about all the inventions and then show you. how the saw dips away."
Sagar shrugged, "OK, or I could just leave ... "
"You'll be the loser." Sagar said, "I am a good brother, I you to learn, come on, sit on your chair."
Sapna made a face, "Yes, big brother, I am all ears."
"The next one is something we could use, and the Europeans too who use bicycles to go to work. It's a helmet you don't see, until you are about to fall and hit your head, then it inflates."
"Ah, I like it, an invisible airbag helmet that inflates before the impact."
"Yeah, exactly, two Swedish design students came up with it."
"No pictures, huh?"
"Nope, later. The next one is, ah, this is good for all the places that don't have too much space or water for toilets."
"Yes, and then some. This hygienic toilet folds. It uses less water and it's is easier to clean around it. We could use such toilets in all the public places."
"Yeah, and what other invention?"
"It is a Revolution door, it opens or shuts with just a touch of a hand. and can be made from any material -- wood, plastic, glass etc."
"Hmm, not impressed. The next one?"
"This one is about water or any other liquid. You know how liquids stick to the surface of its container? Well, Liquiglide makes the surfaces hydrophobic keeping liquids glide instead of sticking to it. The bottle or container is made from a non-toxic material that hates liquids."
"You mean I won't have to bang on the bottom of my ketchup bottle to get the last drop out?"
"What else? The pictures?"
"Nope, Sapna, I better get to my homework, may be later."
"You are not the only one who can read and understand, give me the article."
"Okay, I am tired of reading and explaining to you, here, read it for yourself."
Sapna sat with the article and read, "Oh, neat, this is totally cool, oh, wow! I am going to show it to the twins. "
"Go, enjoy showing off, now let me study."
Sapna shrugged, and went to Suchi-Soori's room, "Hey, do you want to see something interesting? Find me the picture where the bike rider is about to fall!"
"Oh, I want to find him." They both stood by Sapna and peeked over her shoulders.
Sapna showed them the five pictures and talked about the inventions.
Partial or complete automation is coming everywhere. From buying tickets for a railroad trip to surgery and flying into the space.
Japan has for long delved in robotics.
Hiro and Tadashi
Eight-year-old twins, Suchi and Soori dashed into their older brother, Sagar's room.
"Bhaiya, take us to see this movie."
Suchi put a finger the picture of a robot hugging a little Asian boy.
Sagar said, "How do you even know if it's a movie? You don't even have the movie section of the newspaper in your hands!"
Soori said, "Yesterday we forgot to show you this sheet our teacher gave us."
Sapna joined the conversation, "Why would a teacher ask you to go to see a movie?"
Suchi said, "It's about a robot."
Soori added, "And the robots are going to take over the world."
Sagar said, "Are you two talking about the Disney film, Big Hero 6?"
Sapna said, "That's the one about a robot nurse who helps a 14-year-old feel better."
"Yep, that's the one when some bad people kill his brother."
Sagar took the sheet from one of twins and read, "See how a robotic nurse, Baymax helps 14-year-old, Hiro deal with the death of his older brother, Tadashi."
Sagar said, "You know Japan does not have as many people as India or China or even the USA. They have scientists who are making robots to help in stores, schools and even in hospitals. These robots sound and behave like humans. They sometimes show human emotions."
Sapna interrupted Sagar's lecture, "How can a robot show human emotions?"
"It's programmed in the robot computers. I guess certain words and actions by humans trigger the computers to make the robot show emotions. I don't really know much about it."
Soori said, "We don't care how the robots show emotions, we want to see Big Hero 6."
The other twin asked, "So when are we going?"
"After we take Mom 'n Dad's permission to let you see this movie."
"Maybe this evening when they go to their meeting."
The twins yelled, "Yippee...robot movie....here we come!"
Most of the earth is covered by water but the 'human world' is on land; we live, work and die on land, except for those who work with oceans and rivers and other water bodies.
Scientist say that man's abuse of the environment is causing global warming which in turn is causing the snow on the mountains to melt, causing the sea levels to rise.
Today's story is about water from seas coming into towns.
Boston is Venice?
Sagar put his foot on one chair and leaned back on the other as he read his history book.
Sapna came in waving a piece of paper, ""Bhaiya, on our next trip, let's go to Venice."
"To Italy? Why? It's way out in Europe."
"Bhaiya, you are talking as if we never left the American shores."
"Well, Sapna, I am reading the history of Boston's tea party and how all that tea was thrown away into the sea and..."
"Bhaiya, you and I don't even drink tea, even if our parents drink chai at least twice a day. What has that got to do with our traveling to Italy."
Sagar looked up from his book, "Oh, I sound like a nut don't I? The American history is so interesting, how everyone fights the British."
"Bhaiya, LISTEN, what has that got to do with going to Venice?"
"Venice? I don't know, it's a city of canals."
"Exactly, and it's so pretty, look at these pictures, You don't go by car, you take a gondola -- a boat to go from place to place. And, I say, let's go to Europe next summer, especially to Italy."
"Sapna, if you wait a few years, Boston and its canals would be much cheaper."
"What do you mean?"
Sagar looked down at his book, "The other day I read in the news that sea levels are rising, the land is sinking. It's going to become a big problem for some cities on the US East Coast. The Boston people are thinking of copying Venice and Amsterdam, and becoming a city of canals."
"Hurricane Sandy affected Boston area also and if had been high tide, the hurricane water in Boston would have joined with the high tide waters from the sea and the streets of Boston would have flooded."
"Oh, who says that?"
"Scientists. They say that the sea-level will rise on the US east coast by up to six feet (2 m) by the end of the century."
"By the end of the century, the east coast will be flooded? I would be, let's see, I'd be a young lady of 96! I have no plan to live that long."
"The city planners and the architects are thinking of letting the water into the city instead of stopping it and turning the city into American Venice-Amsterdam."
"You din't hear me Bhaiya, I'll be 96! I don't care! I want to go to Venice next summer, when I'm still young."
"Sapna, you should be thinking of your children and grandchildren!"
"Bhaiya, have you lost your mind? I am only 12! Why would I think of Boston floods by the end of the century?"
"Right, you are right, let the Boston architects and city administrators think about Boston, I'll toss this article into trash and do my history work."
Sagar tossed the piece of paper into the garbage bin.
Sapna promptly picked it up, "Thanks Bhaiya, you just gave me material for my next science project."
If you have a G mail account, you'd know what today's post is going to be about. This particular disease has been in the news for some days now when the disease raised its head when children were not vaccinated, and became the losers due to the adults' ignorance.
He Let Go Seven Billion Dollars!
Twelve-year-old, Sapna said, "Bhai, did you read the Google Doodle today?"
Her older brother, sixteen-year-old Sagar said, "Nope, not today, I am inundated with tons of Math and Biology homework."
"Well, lucky me! I'll tell you something about money and biology."
Sagar shut his laptop, "Really? What?"
Sapna said, "Have you heard of Jonas Salk?"
"The polio vaccine guy?
"Yep, the very same. Well, not just any old guy, he was an American medical researcher and a virologist. He came up with the polio vaccine."
"Okay, that's the biology part, where is the math?"
"Well, I found out that Salk did not patent this vaccine."
"Why not, he could have made millions!"
"Exactly. His response was 'could you patent the sun?' He rightfully thought that polio was such a debilitating disease that if children were not vaccinated, polio would cripple them for life. He gifted it to children world over."
"Nice, a tough disease."
"Exactly, vaccination in childhood is the key to staying without polio. The father of Biophysiology would have been richer by seven billion dollars had he patented it!"
"That's a lot of money."
"Salk thought the vaccine belonged to the people. And can you guess why-how the polio vaccine is given for free?"
"With the government help, with taxes?"
"Nope, the public voluntarily funded the vaccine by giving money to the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. An entire generation of scientists and microbiologists received funds from the foundation, even Watson and Crick received money for their DNA research."
"Huh? National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis?"
"That's renamed as the March of Dimes. You can donate a few cents to thousands, as much or as little as you wish, that's why the name."
"Oh, that's cool. Thanks for the biology and the math info, I am back to my homework."
"You are welcome, and let's see what other cool stuff's there."
Today's blog-post is a conversation between sixteen year old, Sagar and his younger sister, twelve year old Sapna.
$30 Trillion Over the Next 30 Years
Sagar was reading a newspaper and making notes, "Oh, wow! That's a bummer." Sapna said, "Bhaiya, that's your fourth 'wow', what in the world are you reading?" "I can't believe the money Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have made!"
"I know, I wish I could inherit a tenth of one of their fortunes -- I'd take holidays, travel, shop, buy a hug home...just fun, fun and fun.!"
"Yeah, I understand what you're saying, that's exactly why I am reading this article."
"Are you figuring out how to put your hand on their fortune? Perhaps laying even a little finger would suffice."
"No, my dear sis, I am reading about the distribution of the money when they die?"
"That's what I am saying, they could give a bit to us."
"Go away, you don't deserve a penny of their fortune!"
"And you do?"
"Sit down and listen to what I am reading, it's not what you are thinking."
"Okay, I am sitting, now tell me, no wait, let me get an apple."
Sapna took a bite of the apple as she pulled a chair to sit by Sagar.
"Warren Buffet is filthy wealthy, and has children."
"Who will also be equally wealthy, from father to child."
"Nope, Warren Buffet will give it to charity."
"All of it?"
"Yes, a negligible amount compared to his fortune, a million or two will go to each of his six children."
Sapna wanted to know, "Is Bill Gates giving his money to his children?"
"Nope, and have you heard of Sting, the singer? Well, he also will not leave his fortune to his kids. These parents do not want their children to be lazy, they want the children to learn the value of money. They'll have to work hard and make their own money."
"Uh, oh, how about their education? Clothing and food?"
"Oh, come on Sapna, they won't be left on streets without a penny to their name, they'll have money for education, housing etc but not to waste and spend as they please -- the way you want to take holidays, travel, shop, buy a hug home...just fun, fun and fun!"
"Bhaiya, hide the article quick, don't let mom and dad see it."
"My silly sister, mom is the one who gave it to me to read and make something on our own. I know dear sis, our parents are not Buffet and Gates!"
"Hmm...I guess I too better get back to my books."
This post is about how a black tie dinner impresses Sagar.
It Does Not Spin
Awac = Airborne early warning and control
Hawkeye = A Surveillance plane
One evening, sixteen year old, Sagar was going through his dad's closet. His sister, who was four years younger, came in there.
"Sapna, help me find a tie."
"I am going to a dinner this evening, it's a jacket and tie affair."
Eight year old twins, Suchi and Soori overheard the conversation. Suchi asked, "Don't you wear pants, just a tie and a jacket?"
"No, silly, it's a formal dinner and he'll wear a tie, a jacket, pants and shoes, however no tennis shoes."
"Why is he going to this special dinner?"
"I have a friend whose dad is a big shot in the navy and he booked a table for ten of us at this dinner, it's a fund raising for students who want to join the Navy."
"Are you joining the Navy? Will you tell us how many boats you see there?"
"No Navy for me. But I'll tell you about the boats, now you eat your dinner, do the homework, take a shower and go to sleep. Mom-dad will be home soon and tomorrow is a school day."
"Okay, Bhaiya, but promise to tell us what you saw at this tie-jacket dinner, okay? Good night, didi, good night, bhaiya." The twins left.
Soon their parents were home; dad whistled when he saw Sagar in a formal attire, "Someone's looking awfully smart, a date?"
Mom said, "This afternoon he got a last minute invitation to this party." She told dad about the dinner.
A friend of Sagar's picked him up and he left.
When Sagar returned home at nine, Sapna asked, "How was it?"
"Awesome! First of all, we walked under a swords-arch to the party hall, these navy men stood with their swords making an arch for us!" "That's a special honor!" "Yeah, a real cool honor. Then I saw an at least 20' wide radar disc mounted on top of a cool plane that sits five; two, two and one at the back, he's the commander."
"What does this plane do?"
"It's a reconnaissance plane that goes in advance of the other planes to see if the enemy on the ground is making a move, and where."
"And Sapna, get this, there is bathroom of sorts on that plane, but you can only pee, and it goes straight out."
"I guess, it means it evaporates in the air."
"Ha, where do you think the birds go? Remember once a bird pooped on one of us?"
"I don't remember, but guess what, when the commander retires his name goes on the side of the plane, and the plane's name is also there."
"The plane must be full of all these names."
"No, to write the new name, they paint over the old name and then write the next name. And get this, they paint the whole plane at that time."
"Wow, and how do you know all this? Did you ask someone?"
"Nooooooo. There was this old lady asking these silly questions, me and a friend of mine just stood aside, eating cheese and crackers and listening. It was funny. The guy, the captain or the commander was just answering her questions, politely, without a hint of a smile, just dead serious, but with lots of pride and enthusiasm."
"Well, she thanked the guy and when he left, she touched the plane's propellers upfront and whispered, "It doesn't spin."
"Did she push the fan, the propeller with all her might?"
"I couldn't tell, but guess what, I also tried to give it a push with one hand, it didn't even budge, it felt so heavy."
"What other planes did you see?"
"A really, really cool one -- a bomber! It has only one pilot, no fan and can take off to bomb the heck out of enemies. The pilot alone handles all the computer systems and off he goes. The third plane I saw was from WWII, it looked so small and not at all powerful, painted yellow, it was sitting in the dinning area."
"It flew in there?"
"Nooooooo. I am sure they drove it or towed it there. It's propeller also did not spin."
"What will you tell the twins about the boats that you didn't see?"
"I'll tell them that I saw airplanes that the Naval officers fly and sometimes they take off from a ship but not tonight."
"Hmm...Bhaiya, I don't know about you but I am going to dream about flying one of those cool airplanes, good night."
In today's post, the four siblings have a conversation about various news items that Sapna has worked on at school.
A Bit of This and a Bit of That
An eighth-grade student, Sapna was looking at the newspaper that she brought home from her school.
Eight year old, Suchi asked, "Didi, Mom said that you write this newspaper, do you?"
"No, silly, I am just an editor."
Suchi's twin, Soori said, "She gets to read it before anyone else in the whole school, right?"
"Yes, in a way you are right. I am the editor. I decide on the stories that go in here."
Suchi said, "What is the best story today?"
Sagar did not wish to be left out of the conversation, "It's a monthly newspaper, it gets printed once every month."
Soori said, "Alright then, what did you print this month? Tell us about something interesting, okay?"
"Well, we wrote about how India sent a Mars probe into the orbit." Sapna put the newspaper aside.
"What is special about that?"
"It's a cheaper than the Gravity movie Hollywood made."
"It went into an orbit at the first try without a hitch and it costs less for it to travel per kilometer in space than a rickshaw in an Indian town takes to travel on road."
Soori said, "You write only Indian stories?"
Sapna patted her head, "No, there are other stories too."
Suchi said, "Fair is fair, we don't want to know only the Indian stories, we are Americans."
Sagar said, "You bet we are, even though I like saag paneer (spinach and cheese cooked in spices) and parotha (layered whole wheat flat bread)."
Sapna said, "Once in a while we print a kid-friendly recipe also."
Soori said, "That's good, but this month's stories?"
"One story was about ants; we wrote that even though there are one million ants per every human on this earth, the total weight of all the ants is the same as the weight of the entire human population, and an ant weighs one millionth as a human."
Suchi asked, "Did you count the red ants and the big ants and the carpenter ants and... "
"All the ants from everywhere, in our homes and in the Amazon jungle, ten thousand types of them. Also, the next time you fight, remember that the ants have lived for many-many-many years and they are good at sharing. "
Suchi asked, "Yeah, sure, we share. What other interesting story did you write?"
"We wrote about the Ebola virus that is affecting West Africa and how dangerous it is."
Such and Soori held each other's hand, "Like a cold virus that mom talks about? Will it make us sick too?"
"No, my dear sisters, it spreads through body fluids." "Body fluids?" "You know, spit, vomit, blood..." "Oh." Suchi said, "How will this bad sickness get here?"
Sapna looked at the newspaper, "A traveler might bring it along, but the CDC doctors will know about it; they will keep the infected person in isolation."
Sagar said, "Girls, you are safe here. Tell them some other story, Sapna,"
Sapna said, "Here is one that I like, in Afghanistan, an army dog named Lucca saved 14 men from stepping on a hidden bomb."
Soori said, "That's a nice dog, but who hid the bomb? Who were these men?"
"Some bad people hid the bombs to hurt the American soldiers fighting a war there."
Suchi said, "They should not take a dog to a war place."
Sagar said, "These are special dogs, trained to sniff out hidden bombs in a war zone. If a soldier steps on it, he's blown up."
"That's a dangerous job for a dog."
"Wasn't this dog afraid?"
"Nope. We wrote in the newspaper how this German shepherd was brave, unafraid and loyal to her handler. When she smelled a bomb, she tried to warn the soldiers, but I am sure, by mistake, she stepped on the hidden bomb herself ."
"Did she die?"
"No, she was injured and they amputated, cut off her one front leg. But you know guys, now she's back to her normal jumping and playing on three legs instead of four. She retrained herself. This happened in 2012."
"That's a smart dog, two thousand twelve makes it an old story, why did you print it now?" The other twin asked, "I want to know did a soldier cut off her leg?"
"No, just like doctors, veterinarians also go with the soldiers, they helped the dog. We printed Lucca's story just now because recently a book, Top Dog was published, a student read it and sent the story to us."
"What else is in your newspaper?"
"Well, when Bhaiya was an editor three years ago, he started a story about how the students need to study as well as exercise. We have continued with that, this month we printed some stretching exercises to do in ten minutes. And girls, we also reminded students about eating less sugar." Soori asked, "What else?" Sapna said, "Suchi-Soori, you know how to read, now you find out about it yourself, here is the newspaper, don't tear it. Mom's back and Bhaiya is going for his soccer, I am going for a jog."
The older siblings took off while the twins spread out the newspaper, looked at the pictures and tried the stretches.