Wednesday, October 29, 2014

He Let Go Seven Billion Dollars!!!


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."

The End

© 2014, Meera Desai Shah

Thursday, October 23, 2014

$30 Trillion Over the Next 30 Years!


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."

"Yep, you got it Sapna."

The End

© 2014, Meera Desai Shah

Sunday, October 5, 2014

It Does Not Spin


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."

"Straight out?"

"I guess, it means it evaporates in the air."

"How gross!"

"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."

"And then?"

"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."

"Good night, Sapna."

The End

© 2014, Meera Desai Shah