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Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Cambrian Legacy.

Five hundred and fifty million years ago, a time beyond the reach of human imagination, life decided to boom on our planet. It was warmer. The glaciers,that covered the earth had melted, 'Pannotia', the super continent was breaking up. The land masses were being flooded with warm shallow seas, there was a drastic change in diversity and in the composition of the earth's biosphere, life exploded!
The microbial mats from a previous era, that covered the oceans floors that time, was destroyed by burrowing life forms that emerged during this significant period in the history of life on earth. Yet  life was only found in the oceans, land was barren and resembling huge deserts that stretched from horizon to horizon. This was the Cambrian period.
The Lowly Sea Squirt.
In that breeding grounds, so many eons ago, from the same source all life forms where branched off we see a little creature emerge. It looks like a little tadpole. It swims around wiggling its tail and using a simple and primitive eye it scouts for a place, a home. It then cements itself to that place, and then transforms itself into its true adult form. It has been doing this from the Cambrian age to today. It’s the sea squirt. And despite its humble origins and appearance, this humble creature is a close relative to all vertebrates, including the humans.

Sea squirts are filed in the same Phylum (biological divisions) as humans. That means that humans are more similar to sea squirts than the coral. This little creature had a nervous system and in this neural system where certain cells, certain receptors. These receptors are like a molecular padlock, designed by the forces of evolution or god. The receptors awaited an unknown molecule, for it was created like lock, a molecular Lego block awaiting a specific key, a complementary molecular piece, a yin awaiting a yan, male awaiting a female,  chemical compounds which wouldn’t appear for another vast expanse of time. So the sea squirt and other similar creatures gifted and passed this legacy to generations to come. While evolution spliced and mixed and birthed new creatures, nothing faintly resembling the simple sea squirt, it left these receptors untouched. It was handed down generation to generation awaiting the molecular key. We call these receptor cannabinoid receptors now and it is spread in millions in our body today. It was a legacy from the Cambrian period to us.
Millions of years later, life was teeming everywhere, the earth was nothing like the Cambrian age, life was everywhere. Land was conquered by the plants .the earth would have seen is largest land animals, maybe not. The continents may have been as what we see today. We can't say for sure when this happened. We only know it happened for sure. There was this plant, just like a million other plants. It grew in the foothills of mountains, perfect and green. It wasn't bossy like other plants, it didn’t have any compelling needs to survive, it would grow and thrive among thousands of other plants,  a weed. Like every other plants it needed a defense mechanism, to protect itself, to survive, maybe from the harsh UV rays of the sun, maybe from some predator it hasn't met yet so it synthesized its own defense mechanism just like any other plant. From a long forgotten genetic legacy, of the Cambrian period, it remembered about the sea squirt, about the cannabinoid receptors. Maybe it was genetic memory, maybe evolutionary obligation or maybe the hand of god. Evolution's circle of life was complete. 
This humble plant in the path of evolution created  cannabinoid molecules like THC or CBD. It might have been for self defense, protecting itself from the sun, or making its leaves bitter for an animal. This plant would complete a five hundred million year old legacy of evolution. It did not stop there, it built itself fibrous stems, it synthesized four thousand odd chemical compounds which would be later useful and changes lives of a bipedal creature that would later inherit this planet and rule it as kings. It would provide it food, shelter, clothing, medicine, fiber, paper and pure euphoria. It was the cannabis plan.
The humble Cannabis.
And finally maybe in an episode of divine luck, the THC molecule would meet the cannabinoid receptor evolved eons ago. It would have been a moment for history to bask in the glory of creation, the first time a THC molecule bonding with cannabinoid receptor, unlocking mental functions that were never perceived before. When a cell in a network is activated by its chemical key, it responds by doing a variety of things: sending a chemical signal to other cells, switching a gene on or off, or becoming more or less active. Depending on the system involved, this process can trigger cognitive, behavioural or psychological changes. For the first time, the existence of a new network in the brain was realized. The human is hardwired for cannabinoids as an evolutionary trait,  that would not be replaced or evolve for millions of years, waiting for a lowly plant to create cannabinoids that would act as a chemical key to unlock this receptors' gate, to an array of functions that would lay otherwise lay dormant, where as most other dormant traits we got from our ancestors were removed or replaced.This was truly destiny.
As anyone who has ever been high knows, few of the main pleasures of human experience with this plant- hearing a song and enjoying the complexity and layers as if for the first time, appreciating textures and colours in all its richness, being empathetically and intimately aware of one's environment, taste food in all its glory, every bite and drop exploding flavor in your senses, experiencing cosmic love and suddenly find yourself in tune with the surroundings. Being one with Creation!
Such experiences might seem like a waste of time and immoral to those who rally against cannabis as the "Evil weed," but evolution found it valuable enough to create an entire neural network for us to enjoy, leaving it untouched for millions of years from the sea squirt to us the human beings.
Or do you still want to argue with GOD?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Scientific Fundamentalism

E = mc2

This equation, among few other reasons, caused my defection from contemporary science. Once I was a true scientist. Younger, nerdier and gullible I was then. School textbooks had this knack of presenting the most interesting things in the world in the most sleep inducing forms. I was smart enough to see beyond that. Science was my religion and experiments my rituals and then energy was god, it could be neither created nor destroyed. The text books told us this, the teachers explained why and the words where etched on stone. Then in the next class we learn what Einstein said. WTF. After just writing an exam about why energy can neither be created or destroyed, Einstein said energy is created from just mass with a exponential value. Wait it did not start here. The smallest particle in nature was the molecule,nothing smaller. Then next class came the atom, smallest and indivisible. Wait it doesn't stop there, there are protons, neutrons and electrons which can be divided in the next chapter. Now a days every other year scientists keep finding smaller particles. They just made the LHC to find even more smaller particles. They just built the biggest anything ever built just to prove stuff that I learned in every level of schooling is worth crap.

I find myself among consensus science. Suddenly science has become what most people around you says is fact. There are the experts and certified specialists who communicate with the very fabric of scientific reasoning and everyday engineer rituals to prove the scientific theories they hypothesize. What they say is the truth as long as they have the government or a corporate organization backing it. Anyone who questions this is a narrow minded orthodox lunatic. Their claims are discredited and filed under fringe and psuedo science.

Another strange thing I realized is that modern science always tells is that what ever they do its the first time in human history. Indigenous sciences have been thrown out as “pagan science” and the same think after a million dollar research are released as scientific journals, by the 'white man'. For example A U.S. patent on turmeric was awarded to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 1995, specifically for the "use of turmeric in wound healing." As long as I can remember Vicco turmeric cream had that nostalgic ad were a kid falls down and his mother smeared turmeric cream on his wounds. Some Indian research center sued them and finally the patent was removed. There are similar cases with neem and basmathi. My point is till then no one bothered to ask why old grandmothers used turmeric on wounds.
But here have been instances where modern scientists have conceded with the idea that they are just rediscovering or reinventing old sciences which thier forefathers itself helped to erase of the planet while on a colonization mania.
Every one quotes J. Robert Oppenheimer( so called father of the Atom bomb) quoting the Bhagwat Gita when the first atom bomb was tested. But he also something else that maybe a bit strange for the orthodox modern thinker. When Oppenheimer was asked about detonating the first atom bomb on our planet, he corrected the interviewer by saying “The first in modern times.”
either he was a Ancient astronaut theory believer or he just knew that modern science wasn't that modern at all.

Lots new age is now being linked to ancient and old belief systems. For the last few hundred years we have been reinventing the wheel. Or its just a political scam to discredit old belief systems and rearrange credit. Just like religion. When every religion says the same thing, people still debate and discredit another religion, and promote their religion in every possible method. Modern science has been doing the same. They scorned at anything indigenous, mystical religious and traditional. Their intent was good, not to be influenced by anything in the pursuit of truth. But now a days they are shielding themselves with their own orthodox systems.

The funny thing is that modern science has been proved wrong every generation. Like Newton's gravity were replaced with Einstein's relativity, then suddenly Everything is replaced by quantum theory and chaos. Since everything worked, and socio-political authorities certified these theories then no one cares about the truth.

According to some ancient Sanskrit literature, creation started from nothing (shooniya) and then BANG! “Shabda Brahman”, exploding, inflating reality happened. It grows and expands till it one day collapses to that very infinitely small dot to shooniya. Ancient scriptures goes on telling that this Brahman is everything and continues with spirituality etc etc etc...It is creation..... Well to me and many other people this explanation of vedic creation myth sounds really similar to the Big Bang Theory. The nothingness and the bang and the growth.

Om, the symbol has been stigmatized as a religious symbol by every one. The Hindus respect it and adorn their houses, wedding rings and even exam answers with it for good luck.Others scorn it considers is a cool tattoo or use it as a musical addendum. Well It actually its not anything to do with luck or gods. It supposedly represents the universal vibration, centuries old Vedic texts claim that our universe Brahman is made up of many small vibrations that cannot be seen with human eyes. Vibration!.In very recent times, modern scientists have been sitting in their government and corporate funded labs, scratching equations everywhere, looking up at the universe maybe smoking a little pot and introduced a new theory. Remember the largest anything they built, The CERN large hadron collider, One of the main functions of this multi billion dollar project is to prove this radical theory. The theory is called The string theory and it tries to unify gravity relativity and quantum theory into a single theory claiming that everything in the universe is made up of little vibrations, they visualized these vibrations as little strings called super-strings and called it string theory. Sense any Deja vu?

Same output Different styles.
Now you go to a old dusty village in India, you most probably will find an equally old tree where a fragile old sadhu with dreadlocks snaking over his head and ash smeared over his body and sometimes he would also be filling his considerably large chillum with very good weed and take large hits out of it. After you convince him to give you a hit,you get to talk with him about creation and Om. After what seems to be few blissful hours you leave this crazy sadhu under the tree and go back to your life's finery and forget the whole brahman and the vibrating Om. Next day you find you turn on your new channel you see fashionably geeky scientists claiming to have theorized the string theory, explaining his multi billion dollar experiment to see dancing lights and the verification for his newly postulated amazing theory. You then go on appreciating and congratulating modern science and technology for this mind blowing discovery. You totally forget the free hit the guy under the tree gave you, you disregard the exact same explanation of creation and string theory you got for free. The result is the same. But one was biased because of its origins and other applauded.
Theoretical physicists do the same thing as ancient thinkers did sit in a place deduce the functioning of the universe. Stephen Hawking, never went into the milky way or travailed through a worm hole to write “A brief History of time”, “How come its widely accepted without concrete scientific validation. The only true validation his theories have are on paper with lots of equation created by him and his peers which no on else can truly understand. Its the exact same verification these indigenous scientists use. They have their theories and their methods to validate it.

I talk about traditional Indian sciences cause I am an Indian and I inclined to know more about Indian sciences. Indigenous sciences exist all over the world. The Mayans have awesomely accurate astronomical calenders long before our present space age systems. Cambodians built the Angor Wat without modern architectural principles or equipment.Malabari fishermen, Viking warriors and Arab traders traversed oceans and looking at stars and listen to the sea without modern satellite tracking or weather forecasts. They were better observes and scientists, they relied on what they observed and natural not on man made equations and machinery.I am sure every other country will have similar examples.

Modern or western science have turned into something they hated from the beginning. There is a fundamental set of beliefs. There are high priests and gods who made these beliefs. Experiments are rituals to instill their beliefs on others. They have a large number of followers, who with no understanding of what or how the specific are show undeniable faith to the scientific institute. Anyone opposing their beliefs need to be shepherded to their path, or they don't enter scientific heaven and need to be persecuted. Science has become a  Religion of fundamentalists.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Statistical Conundrum

Statistics is something I hate. I don't undervalue its importance but I hate the fact that everything around me can be statistically put in chart and bars and pies, From sales to fast food tastes, from TV channel ratings to divorce rates, from harry potter fans to poverty. Some how the corporate world has managed to filter everything in statistics. Its alright. Its a good way to put perspective on things. do things scientifically, we have equations and rules which will finally produce fruitful results. I believe not everything can be quantified, A romantic starry eyed girl would say love cant be quantified, I would also add emotions, likes dislikes, imagination , why I like Hardees better that Mcdonalds, Why a mallu who can survive with out his 4 o' clock chai but  will claim cappuccino as his favorite beverage. Wont this effect the factual value of beverage statistics.  I always think the experts conspire and give us superficial perspective of the pie chart. Anyway my disapproval doesn't bother anyone except me. So I thought I will apply their strategies to more interesting and controversial claims, so it will bother more people.

In the year 2006, 6000 students took their own life in India. They say that the numbers have increased in the following years and recently a bunch of experts are going to study this issue. The reason is exams, social pressure all relating to education and social pressure. I can empathize with these poor kids. The extreme competition and fierce expectations and most importantly the pointless cramming and unimaginative study material can make you want to kill yourself. Coming back to my point, the reason for these deaths are unquestionably our haphazard educational policy and of course the social stigma associated with anything below 80% on your report card. So statistically we have the cause and effect which none of the experts refute. Some where I read there are like 100 suicides per day. Serious rite.

(if you want proof or don't believe me,you can get the sources for my claims from these links
there is more... just Google)

Now lets get into another set of figures and graphed facts. Here goes 

In India 
Fatalities due to terrorist acts from 2000 to 2006 :899
Injuries due to terrorist acts from 2000 2006: 2,180

People who died instantly in Bhopal on 2-3 Dec 1984 from the Union Carbide gas leak: 1,700 . Even now we have enough scandals and sensational news coverage on this.

In the 2008 Mumbai attacks the deaths were 166 and injuries where 293. The most heinous attack and sige on the country by few brainwashed kids with no proper education took 166 lives.

H1n1 Moralities in India in 2009 is 1302. yes the global epidemic of 2009, who is lifting its head recently in India took 1302 lives in India. Everyone was fanatical, wearing masks, the tv reporters screaming government incompetence and people washing their hands every other minute, the sales records of dettol and lifebuoy was a all time high.

I tried to get stats and figures for cannabis related deaths. But couldn't find a one in India ,Apparently  the numbers provided for cannabis overdose in history was zero globally. 

The fatalities in the Sept 11 attacks count up to 2,976 fatalities excluding the 19 hijackers.

So the stats say that more kids killed themselves in one year than what some fanatical terrorists killed in six years. So statistically speaking isn't education more lethal than terrorism. Students die more from the strain of education than smoking cannabis in our country.(ahem!) More have killed themselves, because thay couldn't handle the strain of education and social pressure than the number of people killed because of the swine flu epidemic in India. The statistics show that. Ajmal Kasab is going to be hanged and the teachers and exams killing these students are safely sitting and hopefully reading this. I not justifying the actions of the terrorists neither I am telling anyone to smoke a joint instead of going to study. I am just pointing out statistics.

In an company most of the presentations and meeting start with the stats. Statistics come in every countries decision making routines. Statistics play a pivotal role in our civilization's development and progress. And yet I have managed to use the same statistics to criminalize our Education policy, put a inhuman terrorist in humane light comparatively, factually and by the numbers prove a criminalized narcotic herb safe, and turned a global epidemic into an innocent bystander compared to the suicide inducing history textbooks and lethal multiple choice entrance exams. The Americans waged a war on terror, destroyed Afghanistan, yeah they waged war on a country for half the number of student suicide victims in India in a single year. If George Bush was president of India would he have a “War on Education system” started.

 Well if we remove the figures and numbers out of this  train of logic then we get a totally different perspective. Recently the world and humanity have been living with statistics, from buying a mobile phone to getting a divorce. Everyone's practicality and ethics are ruled by figures, charts and the statistics of profit and gain. We forget to see some real facts and unquantifiable numbers.

There maybe ethical and logical defects in this example of reasoning, but if you can find any statistical loop holes do tell me, do tell me.