Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

15-year old boy fatally shot by cops in Dallas

When will it end?

Jordan Edwards was the kind of child every parent dreams of – good student, great athlete, loving son. He was at a party that was getting rowdy. He decided to leave with his friends before things got completely out of hand. It was the right thing to do. Yet, as the teens drove away, cops fired three bullets into the car. Jordan was shot in the head and died later at the hospital.

Another young life brutally ended. Another family left with holes in their hearts.

It’s hard to believe the cops felt threatened by a car with unarmed teens driving AWAY from them. So what went wrong exactly? Were the police inadequately trained to handle the situation? Or did they just see a black kid and assume the worst?

Either way, a teenager will never come home again. Rest in peace, Jordan. We’re sorry we couldn’t do better.

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Syria – To strike or not to strike?

syria 150x150 Syria   To strike or not to strike? From my layperson viewpoint, there are 3 options:

1. Do nothing: The easiest, least expensive course of action, but isn’t that reminiscent of what happened in Europe during WWII? And how would  Syria, Iran and North Korea view inaction after all that talk about a narrow red line?

2. Conduct a limited strike: President Obama is gearing up to do precisely this. No troops on the ground, limited duration of attack. The UN – think Russia – will oppose this, but the US can proceed anyway…

3. Broker a solution with the United Nations to remove Assad: This is a more long-lasting, mature solution as long as Russia and China pitch in too.

So what do you think?

.

 

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Stop The Bullying!

 Article first published as Stop the Bullying! on Technorati.

bullying3 Stop The Bullying!

The latest bullying episode – 13-year-old Nadin Khoury from Pennsylvania was kicked, punched and hung from a tree by his jacket by four older students. He was lucky. A Good Samaritan rescued him before things got worse.

Not everyone is that fortunate. We all know of the tragic suicide of Phoebe Prince in January 2010 after she was repeatedly bullied. In another case, 14-year-old Brandon Bitner stepped in front of a tractor-trailer to escape the relentless torment.

According to statistics, 77% of students are bullied in some form. Schools have a charter agreement between the trustees and the Minister of Education that directs the school to “provide a safe physical and emotional environment”. Yet these tragedies continue.

So what can we do?
Quite a lot. Provided schools, parents and kids work together.

What Schools Can Do:
Schools have to enforce a zero-tolerance policy with regard to bullying. Complaints must be thoroughly investigated and stern punitive action taken when required. Bullying is often not reported, so a watchdog committee of some sort would make a big difference. Schools also need to foster an environment where the victim feels safe enough to complain.

What Parents Can Do:
Parents should watch for signs that their kids are being bullied (school phobia, lack of confidence, damaged clothes and property) and provide support. Sometimes talking to the bully’s parents helps. In other cases, discussion with school authorities can make a difference. Legal recourse is also possible.

What Kids Can Do:
Kids can avoid bullying by taking a few simple steps. They can walk away from the bully, use the buddy system and control their own anger. They can confide in an adult. A self-defense class is always a good idea, as is participating in activities and clubs that build confidence.

If everyone did their part, bullying in schools would dramatically decrease. And young lives could be saved.

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Are Chinese/Asian mothers superior?

I read this deliciously controversial article in the WSJ by Yale law Professor Amy Chua called Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.  

Chua begins by stating some of the things her kids weren’t ever allowed to do – have playdates, watch TV, or be in a school play. She then advocates her style of coercive, military parenting with anecdotal (and often funny) personal examples. She wraps up by conceding that while there are different ways to raise your progeny, the Chinese way is clearly superior.

Predictably, her article has roused very strong feelings – some commentors are deeply disturbed by her parenting approach while others are awed by it. However, most readers seem to have missed the tongue-in-cheek apsect of her writing. Sure, she believes in tough love but Chua appears to be laughing at herself even as she shocks us with her opinions. It makes me wonder if she really is all that harsh or just exaggerating to make a point.

Personally, I wouldn’t go to the extremes Chua says she does, but I do believe a child’s primary goal is to learn. If teachers or parents can device ways to make learning fun, more power to them. If not, tough. The kid still has to learn, practice and compete in order to succeed.

What do you think? Chinese parenting or the Try-your-best-honey approach? Please vote.

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Author of how-to book for Pedophiles arrested!

This is an update to my post http://www.geetamenon.com/news/free-press-or-devolution/

As many of you know, a book called “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure” was released last month on Amazon. Amazon yanked the book from it’s website soon after the release. Now the author, Philip Greaves, has been arrested.

There’s hope for society yet!

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Online or In-store?

I went to the mall today to pick up a pair of those cool new denim leggings. It was a NIGHTMARE: long parking lines , exhausted & unhelpful sales clerks, two respectable-looking matrons nearly coming to blows over a marked-down coat.

I left legging-less. I’ll just get them online.

What about you? Online or In-Store shopping this Holiday season?

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Th New “Thrifty” Gene and Obesity

Article first published as The New “Thrifty” Gene And Obesity on Technorati.

thriftygene Th New Thrifty Gene and Obesity

Scientists recently discovered another “thrifty” gene called CRTC3 that affects obesity.  The concept of thrifty genes was first explored in the 60s. These genes are believed to slow down the body’s fat-burning process, and once helped our ancestors survive famines.

Mice bred without CRTC3 stayed lean irrespective of diet. Studies also showed that some humans have more potent variants of CRTC3 which makes it extra hard to lose weight, but only among certain ethnic groups. For example, Mexican-Americans with the variant-gene have greater rates of obesity, but non-Hispanic whites with the variant-gene do not.

While “thrifty” genes were once useful, they haven’t evolved at the same pace as society; they persist in making us retain excess fat though famines are unlikely in our current world.

So what can we do about these pesky genes?

Since “breeding” humans without them isn’t a viable option, and pharmaceutical companies will take time to develop a drug that turns CRTC3 and other similar genes “off”, we currently have only one choice. Consume fewer calories than we expend.

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For Yogi

We adopted Yogi from a shelter in Camden, New Jersey. I remember seeing him for the first time in a dark run that looked too small for even his 16-lb body. He was this mix of pug, beagle and chihuahua. He resembled Yoda except he was good-looking and not green. His nose was slightly upturned, his whiskers were curly. And, despite the discomfort of his surroundings, Yogi’s tail wagged non-stop as he peered out at us with his saucer-eyes.

I took him home, of course.

Over the next decade, Yogi converted my clueless-about-canines husband into a dog-liker, but remained predominantly mine. It was me Yogi waited for in the evenings; it was on my side of the bed he slept (though he could be bribed over to my husband’s side with apples; Yogi loved apples above all foods). When we moved to California, he took the 7-day road-trip with us. We stayed overnight at dog-friendly hotels (one wasn’t, but we snuck him in anyway).

By 2004, Yogi could no longer leap onto my bed on his own. His eyesight and hearing deteriorated. He became incontinent about the same time my son got potty-trained. Good thing I had left-over diapers.

In 2006, Yogi was diagnosed with lymphoma. We held on as long as we could. But when he stopped eating mashed-up apples, we knew it was time. I held Yogi in my lap as the vet inserted the needle. Yogi raised his head slightly, then rested it back on my arm. His labored breathing slowed…then stopped.

My Yogi was asleep.

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The Only Diet that Works

Constant diet-discoveries have made us chronic dieters, fickly abandoning one fad diet for the next, in our pursuit of lipid-blasting. So as we struggle into jeans that the washing machine has shrunk yet again, we wonder: What will actually WORK for me long-term?

Only one thing does. And it’s not even a diet.

It’s the Calories-In vs Calories-Out Lifestyle. It allows all foods, is simple, healthy and can be maintained long-term.

Here’s how you follow it:

Step 1: Record your InCal or the calories you consume per day(most packaged foods provide the calorie information per serving, others you can look up on http://www.thecaloriecounter.com

Step 2: Calculate your basic metabolic rate(BMR), ie., the calories you burn just to breathe, digest food etc.
If you’re female, use the formula 655+(4.3 x weight in pounds)+(4.7 x height in inches)-(4.7 x age in years).
If you’re male, use the formula 66+(6.3 x weight in pounds)+(12.9 x height in inches)-(6.8 x age in years).

Step 3: Record your OutCal or the calories you burn per day through physical activity. Most cardio exercise machines display calories burned. You can estimate calories burned for other activities (Ladies, think shopping. Gentlemen, think cleaning out the garage :-)) using http://www.www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc

Step 4: Calculate your Calorie-Deficit(CD)using this formula: BMR+OutCal-InCal. For example: If your InCal is 1600 calories, your BMR is 1500 and your OutCal is 600, your CD will be 500. Now, you need a CD of 3500 to lose 1 pound. So in this example, you can lose 1 pound every week.

I lost 43 of my 50 pregnancy pounds following this approach. But then I got greedy, wanted to lose the last sticky, sticky seven pounds in a minute. I tried the fad diets, lost some flab, gave up the disgusting meal-plan (whether Cabbage Soup, Starvation or Eat-All-Animals-You-Can-Find), regained the flab.

But I’m back on track this week with the Calories-In vs Calories-Out Lifestyle. If I succumb and eat half a bar of chocolate at dusk (Tragic Fact of Life: junk food doesn’t nourish, but has calories. So if you substitute nutritious food with junk, you’re substituting ONLY calories and may feel hungry (read nutrition-deprived) when you try to stay within your InCal allowance), I make up by eating a mound of greens for dinner.

And I’ve already lost a pound. Woohoo!

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Living in the Valley

I’ve been living in Silicon Valley for ten years now, for what they call the Lost Decade. I was here for the dotcom bubble of 2000, witnessed the crash of 2001. I saw the crazy real-estate spikes of 2007, the housing (and economic) ruin of 2008. I watched the Ex-Terminator run up our debt until it’s now riskier than Kazakhstan’s.

Through it all, I never wavered in my conviction that the Bay Area is the best place on earth.

I love Silicon Valley – let me count the ways. I love the gentle weather, the fabulous hiking trails. The bikers on the mountains in each clement season, the breathtaking ocean views, the ski slopes of Tahoe within driving distance. The ethnic diversity that makes me feel comfortable like I never did back East. The great eats, the crowds of Stanford students lining up outside the affordable sushi bars on University Ave in Palo Alto, the casual dress-code everywhere, the take-your-dog to work culture.

I’ve been around the world and I,I, I…consider Silicon Valley home.

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