Sunday, October 30, 2005


You might all wonder at what AO means! It means abbreviation overkill. I was visiting various blogsites this morning and I saw a lot of abbreviations like IMHO, LMAO, LOL, ROTFL etc. I was so confused at what IMHO was and finally found out that it meant "IN MY HUMBLE OPINION". I searched the internet for such abbreviations and found them in plenty. I find it ridiculous that we have resorted to using such abbreviations and sometimes it can become very difficult to decipher what someone is saying if you do not know what the abbreviations mean just like the title of this post.
For the convenience of the chat jargon illiterate I have included a list of abbreviations that I found in my search this morning (YEAH! seems like I have plenty of time in my hands after going through the ordeal of my comprehensive exams this thursday and friday:P)

As Far As I Can Tell

As Far As I Know

As I Understand It

But Seriously Though

Been There, Done That

See you Later

Do What I Say, Not What I Do

Don't You Just Hate It When

Extended Three Letter Acronym

Face to Face

Friend Of A Friend

For What It's Worth

For Your Information

Go Ahead

Get A Life

Garbage In, Garbage Out

I Am Not A Lawyer

If I Recall Correctly

In My Experience

In My Not-So-Humble Opinion

In My Opinion

In Other Words

In Real Life

It Seems To Me

In The Region Of

It Would Be Nice If

If You See What I Mean

Just A Minute

Keep It Simple, Stupid

Member Of The Opposite Sex

Not A Lot Of People Know That

Oh, I See

On The Other Hand

Over The Top

Read The F****** Manual

Are you OK?

Still In The Dark

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

Thanks In Advance

Away From Keyboard

Age? Sex? Location?


Back At Keyboard

Be Back Later

Be seeing you

Be Right Back

By The Way

Frequently Asked Questions

In My Humble Opinion


Laughs Out Loud

Male Or Female?

NM or N/M
Never Mind (or Not Much)

NP or N/P
No Problem

Oh My God

Rolling On (The) Floor, Laughing

Ta Ta For Now

Your / You're


Distorting the english language like this isn't right especially for people like me who do not know the chat jargon. At this rate, I am afraid that we are going to stop using complete sentences. I hope we stop this before it grows and develops into a language of its own.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

"Sen"sitive post!

I read this on Sens blog and felt like writing an open letter to him.

Dear Sen,
I am surprised at this post as this defies all logic. You have taken a point and totally blown it out of proportion. It seems like you must have been drunk when you wrote this, anyway, the support you show for people like Jo is an indicator. The incident that you quote from freedom at midnight can happen in any country ruled by a powerful king. Dont you see examples of such incidents around the world, the answer is very simple. Power corrupts! When one man is king and has so much of authority he sometimes does tend to think that he is god. I am sure that the some of the kings and queens of England must have thought that they were gods, why draw a conclusion from one historical fact? I do agree that our civilization has been backward in terms of scientific development; I would also argue that it is 600 years of colonization by barbarians from the west and the Middle East has left us in shambles.
The British made sure before they left us that they deprived us of most of our natural resources, they took all the valuables that we had accumulated over centuries. We are a very ancient civilization and our practices and culture has withstood the test of 1000s of years. We aren’t the same anymore and there is no need to feel ashamed to be part of such an ancient culture. I agree that the change will come but it will be slow. Remember that what you write here is most likely to hurt people who believe in the rama’s and Krishna’s. I do not believe in any religion but I do believe that there have been great people in India like Buddha who in fact renounced all his material life and searched for inner peace in a society that was full of poor people. He lived among them and showed them the true meaning of life. He was a philosopher and a saint and also someone who lived with the people in their distress and bore it upon himself to deliver them from their ignorance. We have had such wonderful examples of reformers from India. Let us not forget that we have also produced people like Gandhi. I am sure Jo will keep sucking up to whatever you say just because he can attack Hinduism and spread Christianity. If Hinduism is evil so are Christianity and Islam. All religions are equally evil. So do not limit your criticism to Hindus alone please try criticizing the Christians who try their best to convert the innocent man and brain wash him into believing that the only way to salvation is Jesus Christ.
It seems like your criticism is one sided and that you have pretty much given a clean slate to the west which comes up with concepts like intelligent design. I think the purpose of this post has been ill defined by your attack on one particular group of people. You cannot generalize and speculate unless you have concrete evidence and using one particular incident is not enough evidence to question everything you read. You have to also accept that there are regions in India that are severely under developed and where illiteracy and poverty rule. We try and publicize those incidents to the rest of the world but forget our own duties at trying to rectify stuff in our own country. Empty criticism will not suffice, follow it up with action. Action speaks louder than speech. IF YOU CAN FOLLOW UP YOUR WORDS WITH ACTION IT WILL BE WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN GOLD. Unfortunately, our blogsites have become a hub for negative criticism. We forget to think positively and find solutions to our problems, instead we sit back and brood on the issue itself which I feel is not healthy. I understand your concern and appreciate your desire for progress but I think that ending on a positive note and acting to promote awareness are the only things that will help our country. We need to mobilize people for the cause, not criticize their beliefs and be antagonists. Lets be agonists and not antagonists!

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Man is something that is to be surpassed.
What have ye done to surpass man?
All beings hitherto have created something beyond themselves:
And ye want to be the ebb of that great tide, and would rather go back to the beast than surpass man? Ye have made your way from the worm to man, and much within you is still worm.
Once were ye apes, and even yet man is more of an ape than any of the apes.
Even the wisest among you is only a disharmony and hybrid of plant and phantom.
But do I bid you become phantoms or plants?
Lo, I teach you the Superman!
The Superman is the meaning of the earth.
Let your will say: The Superman SHALL BE the meaning of the earth! I conjure you, my brethren, REMAIN TRUE TO THE EARTH,
and believe not those who speak unto you of superearthly hopes!
Poisoners are they, whether they know it or not.
Despisers of life are they, decaying ones and poisoned ones themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so away with them!"

From the book THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTHRA by Friedrich Nietzsche

Arvind's recent post (Power play!) reminded me of the epic science fiction movie released in 1968: 2001 a space odyssey. The movie was directed by Stanley Kubrick and the story was written by Arthur. C. Clarke. The Story was published as a book in 1969 a full one year after the movie was released. What makes this movie so special? The movie and book were inspired in part by the book “thus spake Zarathusthra” by Friedrich Nietzsche. You might have wondered at why I included those sentences from the book by Nietzsche. Anyone who reads those sentences will realize the power behind them and the truth that they hold; I do not need to take the trouble of explaining them or analyzing them. This is the central theme of the movie “2001 a space odyssey”. A bench mark science fiction film of sorts.

It is a story that for the first time describes artificial intelligence. HAL9000 is a computer controlling a space ship on man’s mission to one of Jupiter’s moons. It becomes artificially intelligent and now begins to consider its human inhabitants as a threat to the mission. It considers itself above everyone else. It tries to annihilate all the inhabitants of the ship but finally succumbs to the simplest of tools that man has invented (a screwdriver!). The deep philosophy behind this movie is not apparent immediately. Many people who watched this movie came out confused not able to fathom what it meant.

I recently came across a website that explains Kubricks fantastic journey in detail.



Wednesday, October 19, 2005


After a post on insomnia the next thing that occurred to me was depression. I felt the need to write about it because depression is a word I am very familiar with, I get depressed very easily. I expect a lot out of myself as well as the people around me. A bad day in the lab, a small misunderstanding anything and everything can trigger me to get into depression. For a person like me depression can wreak havoc and can lead to severe mood swings, it can also affect work. In these three years I have gone through various levels of depression and it used to occur frequently when I was going through a bad phase in the lab. One failed experiment would eventually lead to the other just because in my depressed mood I would miss simple details that I would have otherwise noticed. How does a person like me get rid of depression or deal with it? Counseling is the best option. All universities have a counseling center to help deal with the stress and pressure of everyday graduate life. I was very skeptical when I first went to the counseling center. I did not know what to expect there. After three months of counseling I started feeling much better and less depressed. It worked like a miracle. These days I seldom get into depression, for I have learnt to deal with it.

The best way of dealing with depression is to create a life outside your work place. My worst days of depression were those when I could not take a failed experiment out of my mind or not stop thinking about what I had to do the next day. I was always paranoid on a Sunday night that I might forget to do something important the following day. I have a lot of responsibilities as a graduate student like course work, teaching, research etc. Time management was very important, I have started to use check lists of things to accomplish during the day, and this approach really helps in keeping me organized. During my days of depression I would be so overwhelmed that I would forget to do something invariably and land up in a big mess.

How does one create a life outside the workplace? Stop thinking or ruminating about failures for long periods of time, you are bound to succeed sometime soon. Indulge yourself in your favorite pastime; it can be anything like music, sports, blogging, reading, exercise etc. It surely helps when you are constantly thinking about what is happening at your work place to digress and look at other things. Most often we forget that the world is a place filled with fascinating things and that what we get hung up on aren’t even worth thinking twice about. The key is to relax and enjoy your work. Learn to enjoy your work even if everything you do does not turn up as expected. Life is always full of unexpected twists and turns and like my boss says there is something to be learnt from even failed experiments.

Monday, October 17, 2005


In the deepest confines of my brain,
There lies a mysterious world,
A world not many know of,
But always ask me questions about,
I shrug off their questions and silently walk away,
I keep wide awake waiting for the murmur to end,
The noise increases and reaches a crescendo,
I twist and turn waiting for it to subside,
It seems to be never ending,
Engulfing me in its raves and rants,
Everything seems to be moving at a furious rate,
Pictures of my past zoom by,
My present lost in the confusion,
I lie in wait for sleep to embrace me,
Am I the eternal Insomniac?

Sunday, October 16, 2005


I have been reading various posts of late about intelligent design, god and spirituality in biology. I was pretty riled up on reading this post recently linking intelligent design to biological systems and how everything had to be "designed" inorder to function. I should mention here that I am not against the concept of god, or against people who believe in the concept of god. God is a very sensitive issue in the current world. Different religions advocate different gods and try and justify their case with books that they all claim to be words of god himself. The easiest thing to do is to attribute anything and everything inexplicable to god. This according to me is not god but our own ignorance. The purpose of research in any field of science is not seeking out god, but to seek out how a particular system works and how it might have evolved or find out the different molecular players in its evolution. I still believe that I am not seeking god when I indulge in research. God in my view is a form of energy we sense every day of our lives. It is something that drives us to work towards the questions we ask. I have often wondered at where my motivation comes from, I am sure that it must be from this source of energy called GOD. God is something that we associate with perfection. God is the perpetual motion machine that man has dreamt of building for ages. God in short is an entity which does not conform with any laws of physics, chemistry or biology. How in the world then do we attribute anything and everything in the physical world to god? The enormous imperfections in the "design" of biological systems make a point, they certainly were not "designed". Design is something we associate with god a lot. According to a lot of us, God is the ultimate architect. If he is then he is the most flawed of them all for biological systems are certainly not perfect. We are mere mortals on the face of the earth, if at all we can attribute anything to god it is our will to survive despite all these discrepancies in design and not the design itself. GOD IS PERFECT! AND I SEEK PERFECTION IN MY METHODS NOT IN THE BIOLOGICAL SPECIMEN I STUDY.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

60 minutes on 9MSN

I saw a few incredible clips on 9msn the last few days. I really loved watching them and I wanted to share them with all of you.

Please click on the links to watch the clips

All you wanted to know about Roger Federer in a nutshell. A very interesting short program.

A very moving documentary on the massacre of muslims in Bosnia.

Facts that all of us should know about global warming.

I hope everyone enjoys watching these videos as much as I did.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Of Gandhi's autobiography, comprehensive exams and more...

After an excruciatingly long break I am finally back to my old blogging ways. I can see that the blog world has not changed much over the last two months. These two months have been very interesting. My break started with a trip to Pittsburgh to visit my uncle. I spent the first three days in Pittsburgh helping my uncle unpack and set up his new house.

On the 15th of August I was helping my uncle organize his office in the basement and I came across Gandhi’s autobiography “THE STORY OF MY EXPERIMENTS WITH TRUTH” (click here to read the book!) in one of his shelves. Gandhi seemed to be peering through his glasses beckoning me to read the book. I started reading the book with some kind of religious fervor, anxious and excited to read about the MAHATMA, the man I have always considered the greatest ever.

Gandhi’s life is an example of how an ordinary man can rise above everything and everyone and embrace immortality for sacrifice and service. Everything that Gandhi did in his life was an experiment. These experiments were carefully planned and their results were carefully analyzed, interpreted and applied (for example: He turned sathyagraha one of his experiments into a weapon against the British).

I felt like writing about the book because Gandhi remains relevant even today. The part I enjoyed reading the most was about Gandhi’s formative years. He talks in great length about his marriage to Kasturba and the difficulty he had in controlling his “carnal desire” during the early days of his marriage and the drawbacks of child marriage (he was only 13 when he married Kasturba). It is interesting to know that Gandhi who had over 400 million followers had a very bad personal life. His eldest son left him because of personal differences and yet Gandhi remained unmoved in his quest for the truth. It is hard to imagine a man fighting for Independence in the midst of a personal crisis. He was very focused in his goals, and human service came first before everything else. It is a pity that his name has been tarnished and the likes of Godse are being worshipped in some parts of India. Gandhi’s life in England and South Africa played a big role in making him the politician he was. Some of you might argue that “GANDHI WAS NEVER A POLITICIAN!!”

Well if Gandhi was never a politician who is a politician? Gandhi might have never held public office but was well and truly a member of the Indian National Congress. Gandhi was perhaps the best example of an ideal politician. Gandhi’s autobiography is a must read for every human being on earth (at the least all Indians should read it).

I returned to DC after the short trip to Pittsburgh rejuvenated to face the challenges of my current semester. The semester started with a bang with a series of experiments to be performed for the paper I have been long waiting to publish. The experiments kept on failing till last week when I finally got the results I wanted.
I had a viva voce today and my comprehensive examination committee bombarded me with questions for 1 hr and 15 minutes until my brain froze. After a lot of deliberations they finally decided that I could take my written examination on the 27th of October. I guess I am back to blogging sooner than I ever thought I would. I am going to take another break in December when I head to San Francisco for the American Society for Cell Biology annual meeting.