Several people die waiting for a kidney donor in parts of the world. However, in Iran, the queue (of people who need healthy kidneys) for kidney transplant is almost non-existent. In Iran, the government has legalized donating kidneys and it pays kidney donors a gift of money and pays for pre- and post surgery care. The writer of today’s article considers this Iranian model and why it is yet to be emulated in other countries.
Recently, when I travelled to a place where electronic goods are cheaper, my spouse asked for a FitBit fitness band. The band has sensors that track the number of steps that he takes in a day or the number of hours he sleeps among other things. There’s much more to the band apart from prompting you or reminding you to be fit – there are philosophical implications of this fitness tracker. Here’s a witty and often philosophical take on it:
One of my friends had suggested writing popular, readable, simplified and often point-wise short articles – this is when I was thinking of blogging. Not a bad advice really – if you think about how impatient are we as readers. But, for a writer that might not be satisfying. Writing simplistically on a hard topic might get more likes or follows (or more people might actually read the write-up); however, there are issues with such writing. As today’s article puts it – some things need to be presented the way they are; it might attract fewer readers but they could be just the ones you would want to read your stuff and talk about it.
I know boredom has its own importance though I perhaps wouldn’t know how to articulate its importance. As children, there was no agenda for our summer holidays. They were peppered with bouts of running around, playing cards in the afternoon with cousins, having occasional arguments which sometimes ended with us bashing up each other, putting henna on our palms, sometimes helping with housework or simply doing nothing. Entertainment was mostly play or reading. In between studies and all these “activities” was the time to get bored. Boredom gave us a chance to do unproductive tasks such as to daydream, to idle around, to think, to imagine, to observe, or to stare into space.
I don’t know what has happened to boredom nowadays – we just don’t seem to find time to get bored. There are endless chores to be done and after endless hours of work, there is hardly any idle time. People are so wrapped up with their work, that finding time for a conversation over coffee gets tough. We need to sometimes live boredom, and teach boredom to our children. These pauses in time are ideal for reflection, talking or doing nothing. Sometimes it is good to be purposeless.
Today’s article would be a delight for airplane enthusiasts – there are witty snippets of information on the evolution of airplanes with photographs. When innovations in airplane design were happening, the engineers envisioned an even brighter future for aviation. Yet, today’s Boeing 707 is similar to its “grandfather” Boeing 787. In fact, 707 is slower than 787. The predicted exponential change did not happen for Aviation. The writer predicts similar future for information technology. His point is that innovations in web, software, or hardware technologies too are now stymied by economic, social and technical barriers – barriers that we had rather not cross. Linking important parts of the history of computing and internet, the writer attempts to make a persuasive case.
For decades, sleep scientists have talked about uninterrupted seven to nine hours of night sleep for rest and rejuvenation. For some creative artists such as writers, an interruption in this night sleep turns out to be one of the best times for creative work. This short dreamy period is the right mix of dreamy state and wakefulness to create work. What happened to our creativity-enhancing broken sleep?
Here’s a Russian journalist telling the story of a Crimean Tatar – a member of Turkic people living in parts of Russia and Ukraine. The Tatar lady reminisces about her childhood; the family was driven away from their homeland in Crimea to barracks in Uzbekistan. She talks about what it meant to be a Crimean Tatar – that the Tatars were made to fight for the Soviet Union and yet considered traitors; what it meant to grow up in a foreign land hated for being what they were; what it meant to be poor; and what it means to rebel for survival and living.
People suffering from Alzheimer’s suffer from progressive memory loss. The person forgets one’s near and dear ones, codes of appropriate behaviour, one’s experiences, and the ability to recognize and recall. Surprisingly then, these patients retain memories of music. The writer discusses in short the techniques used to find why even patients suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease can sing/recall or enjoy music that they had heard long time ago and how such a discovery could help bring some joy to these people.
Would a man who prepares bomb belts or car bombs for suicide bombers and who organizes the bombings in Baghdad (Iraq) feel remorse or pangs of regret for hundreds (or thousands) of murders? Would he carry out a suicide bombing mission himself? Why would he do such a terrible act in the first place? Here’s an interview with such an organizer who gets caught:
A lot has been written about dictators; however, their families, though touched or battered by their infamies, generally live or die in obscurity. Here’s an account of Svetlana – Stalin’s daughter. Her mother shot herself when Svetlana was six and her father either killed or imprisoned her maternal family members. Fortunately for Svetlana, her father’s cruelty or her mother’s neurosis did not manifest in her. Svetlana learnt to survive, find some love, and live long enough.