Did you know…
… that today is Respect for the Aged Day? Also known as Keiro No Hi, Japan honors its aged citizens on this day through volunteer work, travel, gift-giving and political activity for the betterment of its senior citizens. Celebrate with your favorite senior citizen today and let them know how special they truly are. Felt great to be inducted to Toastmaster on this great day.
Plant a seed
Apologise to someone you may have hurt
Purchase ethical goods
Smile at a stranger
Gift someone something they complimented you for
Volunteer your time for a good cause
Go the day without complaining
Make a conscious effort to recycle
Pay for someone else’s meal today
Share something interesting you’ve learnt today
Growth hacking is part science, part art
The word Paid Media is infamous in India. Content Writing and Story Telling are booming businesses here. Some good writers are found gullible and caught in the catchments of Blogs and Social media with Ssssshhhh…. kind of messages asking for writing paid reviews.
I have written few reviews for TripAdvisor for few years and they are less than 150 over 10 years or so and have got about 100000 views from readers. Some of them have actually liked them. So when the below mail came to me I was first surprised, so I re-read and understood. I am sharing this for fellow Bloggers and writers – it is a wake up call.
You may draw your own conclusions and take precautions if you like.
Fluid reflections on keeping a solid center.
BY MARIA POPOVA
I remember my first awareness of mortality as a child in Bulgaria. I was nine and my father was relaying an anecdote from his youth. I asked him when it had taken place. With unconcerned casualness, he replied: “About a decade ago.” I was astonished that people could segment their lives into blocks this big — my own life hadn’t yet lasted a decade. In realizing that “a decade ago” I hadn’t existed — the self I now so vividly experienced daily was then a nonentity — I also realized that in several more of those ten-year blocks, my dad, and eventually I, will cease to exist.
After one such time-block, I left Bulgaria for America, lured by the liberal arts education promise of being taught how to live. As the reality fell short of that promise, I began keeping my own record of what I was reading and learning outside the classroom in mapping this academically unaddressed terra incognita of being.
All the while, I was working numerous jobs to pay my way through school. What I was learning at night and on weekends, at the library and on the internet — from Plato to pop art — felt too uncontainably interesting to keep to myself, so I decided to begin sharing these private adventures with my colleagues at one of my jobs. On October 23, 2006, Brain Pickings was born as a plain-text email to seven friends. Halfway through my senior year of college, juggling my various jobs and academic course load, I took a night class to learn coding and turned the short weekly email into a sparse website, which I updated manually every Friday, then, eventually, every weekday.
The site grew as I grew — an unfolding record of my intellectual, creative, and spiritual development. At the time, I had no idea that this small labor of love and learning would animate me with a sense of purpose and become both my life and my living, nor that its seven original readers would swell into several million. I had no idea that this eccentric personal record, which I began keeping in the city where Benjamin Franklin founded the first subscription library in America, would one day be included in the Library of Congress archive of “materials of historical importance.”
And now, somehow, a decade has elapsed.
Because I believe that our becoming, like the synthesis of meaning itself, is an ongoing and dynamic process, I’ve been reluctant to stultify it and flatten its ongoing expansiveness in static opinions and fixed personal tenets of living. But I do find myself continually discovering, then returning to, certain core values. While they may be refined and enriched in the act of living, their elemental substance remains a center of gravity for what I experience as myself.
I first set down some of these core beliefs, written largely as notes to myself that may or may not be useful to others, when Brain Pickings turned seven (which kindred spirits later adapted into a beautiful poster inspired by the aesthetic of vintage children’s books and a cinematic short film). I expanded upon them to mark year nine. Today, as I round the first decade of Brain Pickings, I feel half-compelled, half-obliged to add a tenth learning, a sort of crowning credo drawn from a constellation of life-earned beliefs I distilled in a commencement address I delivered in the spring of 2016.
Here are all ten, in the order that they were written.
From year seven:
- Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind. Cultivate that capacity for “negative capability.” We live in a culture where one of the greatest social disgraces is not having an opinion, so we often form our “opinions” based on superficial impressions or the borrowed ideas of others, without investing the time and thought that cultivating true conviction necessitates. We then go around asserting these donned opinions and clinging to them as anchors to our own reality. It’s enormously disorienting to simply say, “I don’t know.” But it’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be right — even if that means changing your mind about a topic, an ideology, or, above all, yourself.
- Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone. As Paul Graham observed, “prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.” Those extrinsic motivators are fine and can feel life-affirming in the moment, but they ultimately don’t make it thrilling to get up in the morning and gratifying to go to sleep at night — and, in fact, they can often distract and detract from the things that do offer those deeper rewards.
- Be generous. Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange and behind every cultural artifact being critiqued. To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.
- Build pockets of stillness into your life. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. There is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. The best ideas come to us when we stop actively trying to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the entire flow of the creative process is broken.
Most important, sleep. Besides being the greatest creative aphrodisiac, sleep also affects our every waking moment, dictates our social rhythm, and even mediates our negative moods. Be as religious and disciplined about your sleep as you are about your work. We tend to wear our ability to get by on little sleep as some sort of badge of honor that validates our work ethic. But what it really is is a profound failure of self-respect and of priorities. What could possibly be more important than your health and your sanity, from which all else springs?
- When people tell you who they are, Maya Angeloufamously advised, believe them. Just as important, however, when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them. You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you.
- Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity. Ours is a culture that measures our worth as human beings by our efficiency, our earnings, our ability to perform this or that. The cult of productivity has its place, but worshipping at its altar daily robs us of the very capacity for joy and wonder that makes life worth living — for, as Annie Dillard memorably put it, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
- “Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.”This is borrowed from the wise and wonderful Debbie Millman, for it’s hard to better capture something so fundamental yet so impatiently overlooked in our culture of immediacy. The myth of the overnight success is just that — a myth — as well as a reminder that our present definition of success needs serious retuning. As I’ve reflected elsewhere, the flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one spritely burst and yet, as a culture, we’re disinterested in the tedium of the blossoming. But that’s where all the real magic unfolds in the making of one’s character and destiny.
From year nine:
- Seek out what magnifies your spirit. Patti Smith, in discussing William Blake and her creative influences, talks about writers and artists who magnified her spirit — it’s a beautiful phrase and a beautiful notion. Who are the people, ideas, and books that magnify your spirit? Find them, hold on to them, and visit them often. Use them not only as a remedy once spiritual malaise has already infected your vitality but as a vaccine administered while you are healthy to protect your radiance.
- Don’t be afraid to be an idealist. There is much to be said for our responsibility as creators and consumers of that constant dynamic interaction we call culture — which side of the fault line between catering and creating are we to stand on? The commercial enterprise is conditioning us to believe that the road to success is paved with catering to existing demands — give the people cat GIFs, the narrative goes, because cat GIFs are what the people want. But E.B. White, one of our last great idealists, was eternally right when he asserted half a century ago that the role of the writer is “to lift people up, not lower them down” — a role each of us is called to with increasing urgency, whatever cog we may be in the machinery of society. Supply creates its own demand. Only by consistently supplying it can we hope to increase the demand for the substantive over the superficial — in our individual lives and in the collective dream called culture.
And as I round the decade:
- Don’t just resist cynicism — fight it actively.Fight it in yourself, for this ungainly beast lays dormant in each of us, and counter it in those you love and engage with, by modeling its opposite. Cynicism often masquerades as nobler faculties and dispositions, but is categorically inferior. Unlike that great Rilkean life-expanding doubt, it is a contracting force. Unlike critical thinking, that pillar of reason and necessary counterpart to hope, it is inherently uncreative, unconstructive, and spiritually corrosive. Life, like the universe itself, tolerates no stasis — in the absence of growth, decay usurps the order. Like all forms of destruction, cynicism is infinitely easier and lazier than construction. There is nothing more difficult yet more gratifying in our society than living with sincerity and acting from a place of largehearted, constructive, rational faith in the human spirit, continually bending toward growth and betterment. This remains the most potent antidote to cynicism. Today, especially, it is an act of courage and resistance.
Since such a time machine of reflection would get nowhere without the substance that fueled it, here are ten of the things I most loved reading and writing about in this first decade of Brain Pickings:
Morning Briefing (9 Min Reading Time)
Top news & stories of the startup ecosystem from India & around the world
Bengaluru-based online classifieds and services portal Quikr India Pvt Ltd is reportedly in talks to raise between $100 Mn and $150 Mn by keeping its record valuation of $1 Bn. If the company successfully manages to raise funds sustaining its $1Bn valuation, it would mark a turning point for the company.
Indian government-owned statutory body Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has reduced the scope of regulation for the proposed framework for the over-the-top applications (OTT) like WhatsApp, Skype, Netflix, Hotstar among others.
The first meeting of the recently formed ecommerce panel of secretaries was held on Thursday (September 14), during which issues related to the definition of ecommerce and grievances related to the industry were discussed. This committee is different from the inter-ministerial task force that is working on the draft ecommerce policy.
Amid rising data theft, breaches, and leaks in India, the Supreme Court had directed the Indian government to formulate a Data Protection Bill to ensure and strengthen people’s rights over personal data and the right to privacy. Accordingly, the Justice Sri Bn Krishna Committee was formed in July 2017 to deliberate on a data protection framework for the country.
SP-TBI is an initiative of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Sardar Patel Institute of Technology and is affiliated with the Department of Science and Technology of the Indian government, which formally recognised it in 2015. With its core focus on enabling technology-based startups, the affiliation gives SP-TBI a definitive edge.
Inside Planet Labs’ New Satellite Manufacturing Site (TechCrunch)
Satellite imaging and analytics company Planet is taking the wraps off its new manufacturing space in San Francisco. Founded by ex-NASA employees, Planet is leveraging some of the $183 million in funding it’s amassed to expand.
Google is reportedly building a prototype system that would tie Chinese users’ Google searches to their personal phone numbers, as part of a new search service that would comply with the Chinese government’s censorship requirements.
For those not in the know, a DApp is a decentralized application built on a blockchain like Ethereum or EOS. You may be familiar with legitimate DApps such as Augur or CryptoKitties, but this is not a story about what honest programmers can create using the power of the blockchain.Start
There is more to luminescence than fireflies and glow-in-the-dark toys. Fluorescence, which is mostly absorbed light being released, is responsible for some of the most awe-inspiring natural spectacles and scientific discoveries.
In recent years, glowing has shown up in strange places, in unexpected species, and in surprising ways that are invisible to the human eye. Even more intriguing, fluorescence is woven into several unsolved mysteries, can be seen from space, and might even be deadly to humans.
Listverse – Daily Highlights
Sponsored by Connatix
It may be hard to believe that glowing mushrooms exist, but fluorescent fungi pop up all over Brazil and Vietnam. For years, the secret behind their glow could not be explained.
To get to the bottom of this mystery, scientists collected a few in 2015. In the laboratory, the compound responsible for the bioluminescence was isolated. Called oxyluciferin, the chemical also exists in fireflies and glowing sea creatures.
For the mushrooms, the glowing compound is used to attract insects. Once the bugs land, they pick up spores and scatter them elsewhere. This helps the mushrooms to spread.
Another question involved how the fungi produced luciferins. A closer look revealed that the mushrooms manufactured their own special luciferin and paired it with oxygen and an enzyme which resulted in fluorescent colors.
The nature of the enzyme suggested that it could interact with other kinds of luciferins and trigger more shades that glow. This suggests that there is still a lot more to learn about these surreal-looking mushrooms.
9Hazards Of Blue Light
During the day, blue light emanating from electronics and energy-saving bulbs appears to have few drawbacks. On the other hand, researchers have discovered a frightening link between blue glow at night and deteriorating human health.
Some of its daytime perks include more energy and alertness. When people relax with electronic devices in the evening, blue light radiates from screens and stimulates the brain. This disrupts proper sleep.
It may sound like nothing. But studies have shown that people can become prediabetic when the sleep rhythm shifts. Links have also been made to obesity, heart disease, and cancer.
To be fair, scientists do not have solid proof that blue light directly causes these conditions. But it does lower melatonin levels. The lack of this hormone, which regulates the sleep cycle called the circadian rhythm, may be the link associating blue light with cancer, although the research is at an early stage.
If it can be proven that blue wavelengths are deadly to humans, one environmental success needs to be overhauled. Fluorescent light bulbs and LED lights may be more energy efficient, but they produce more blue light than any other.
8First Fluorescent Frogs
In 2017, Argentinian researchers took a plain-looking frog home. The polka-dot tree frog is mostly green with red spots and, thus far, nothing to take the champagne out of the fridge for. Things changed when the amphibian was being prepared for tests, some of which called for its tissues to be studied under UV light.
To everybody’s surprise, the instant that UV shined on the creature, the whole frog lit up. The blue-green fluorescence not only makes it the first glowing frog but also the first fluorescent amphibian in the world.
This is quite an achievement because any glowing in land animals is incredibly rare. The frog’s radiance comes from compounds named hyloins. The benefits that hyloins offer this species are hazy, but they could have something to do with polka-dot frogs needing to see each other at night. The blue-green glow is visible to the frogs and also makes them brighter during twilight and the full Moon.
Sometimes, strange plants cause coastlines to light up with eerie streaks of light during the night. Most recently, in 2018, ghostly blue lines appeared in a spectacular display off Southern California when miles of coastline lit up.
The algae responsible are called dinoflagellates, and they are plants capable of swimming. During the day, their dense numbers cloud the water red. Such an unusual bloom in their population is popularly known as a “red tide.”
In the past, some red tides attracted the wrong kind of attention because they can make seafood toxic for human consumption. However, at night, dinoflagellates cause an otherworldly beauty that now brings tourists to the beach at night.
At the chemical level, each plant has a protein and an enzyme. Any disturbance, like a wave or passing creature, mixes the two and causes the algae to become bioluminescent.
This reaction is not entirely understood, but it is likely a defensive measure. It could exist to flash zooplankton, the dinoflagellates’ main predator, into submission or glow to attract fish that prey on the plankton.
6Flowers Have Blue Halos
Flower genes struggle to make petals that are blue, which is exactly the color that flowering plants want more than anything. The reason? Bees are attracted to blue, and flowers need the buzzing insects to complete their fertilization cycle.
In 2017, scientists discovered how plants engineered a novel way to lure bees. Those that could not produce blue flowers evolved petals with nanostructures capable of glowing blue in sunlight.
These halos are like neon signs to bees. The tiny reflective scales turned out to be a widespread tactic and were found in all major groups of flowering species that depend on insect pollination, including some trees.
Although the general hue was blue, some plants also produced an ultraviolet scattering effect. It enhances bees’ ability to locate blue. The halos turned out to be a stronger attraction than the real thing. During trials, bumblebees ignored the actual colors of flowers and went straight for those with a blue fluorescence.
5Glowing Coral Solved
Researchers figured out a long time ago why shallow-water corals glow. Their green light acts like a sunscreen against solar radiation. But scientists could not understand why sun-sheltered corals from the deep sea also emit fluorescent light.
In 2017, the answer dawned. Deep corals don’t glow to avoid light but to get more. At such depths, life-giving light is not abundant. To survive, the corals must absorb as much as possible. However, the blue light at the bottom of the sea is not sufficient to give corals the energy they need.
Impressively, the corals use red fluorescence to blend the blue into orange-red light. The latter allows better food production through photosynthesis.
This discovery may be exciting for scientists but not for environmentalists. Global warming causes mass bleaching of shallow corals, and a major hope was that some species might migrate to deeper waters. As shallow corals glow green, they may not adapt to deeper waters where survival requires a red fluorescence.
4When Seabirds Shimmer
In 2018, biologists had a dead Atlantic puffin on their hands. As an afterthought, they decided to view it under UV light. The idea was to test for any glow because crested auklets, a species related to puffins, have fluorescent beaks.
Under normal light, puffins’ beaks are very recognizable. They are decorated with colors likely meant to woo the opposite gender. Even though puffins have a glowing cousin, it was still unexpected when the cere and the lamella, two ridges on the dead specimen’s beak, fluoresced under the UV lamp.
Scientists are not sure why puffins light up, but it might have something to do with their ability to see the UV spectrum. Even during the daytime, puffins notice each other’s glowing ridges. More mysteries include what it looks like to them and how they are capable of fluorescence in the first place.
As only one dead bird was tested, scientists still need to rule out the possibility that the glow was somehow caused by decomposition.
3Mitochondria’s Strange Heat
In recent years, scientists have created temperature-sensitive dyes called “fluorescent thermometers.” These dyes cling to specific targets inside cells, which made them perfect for an experiment designed to determine the heat of mitochondria. These tiny structures inside cells convert oxygen and nutrients into energy. This process also generates heat.
In 2017, scientists used a yellow fluorescent dye that dims when heat intensifies. Once injected into cells, it can help to calculate temperature. Previously, it was assumed that mitochondria operated at normal body temperature, which averages 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 °F). The tests showed that mitochondria operate at a scorching 50 degrees Celsius (122 °F).
If a person ever developed this kind of full-body temperature, it would be a life-threatening fever. Thankfully, the record for the hottest body temperature does not come close to the mitochondria’s fire. If this strange heat can be better understood, a lot of old notions about cell function—especially those related to temperature—could fall away.
2Photosynthesis From Space
In 2017, Australian researchers and NASA developed a novel way to monitor climate change. They took breathtaking images from space showing plant fluorescence. The new technique could detect solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence, which is produced during photosynthesis in leaves.
To make sugars from photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide. Understanding this cycle on a global scale is crucial for staying on top of the planet’s climate and carbon cycle dynamics.
To start testing the idea, researchers used satellite monitoring to snap pictures of glowing chlorophyll. The levels were measured and compared for accuracy against ground observations about photosynthesis. The results showed that the space snaps delivered accurate information across different vegetation, regions, and time.
The innovative technology is not just about following new plant growth and climate change. The fluorescent photos may also help us to better understand Earth’s ecosystem and carbon flows as well as land management and biodiversity conservation.
1First Photo Of A Memory
During recent investigations into how memories are made, researchers chose to poke around the brain cells of a slug. The neurons of the ocean-crawling Aplysia californica make a good match for those of humans.
For a long time, neuroscientists suspected that proteins form at brain synapses when long-term memories are created. Until the sea slug offered its brain, this theory was never proven.
During the recent experiment, scientists first gave the cells the feel-good hormone serotonin which aids in memory formation. Then, a fluorescent protein was used, originally green but able to turn red under UV light.
The test was as simple as it was successful. Under ultraviolet light, researchers watched proteins turn red and marked their positions. The neurons were then encouraged to form memories. Incredibly, while that happened, new green proteins grew between the brain cells. This allowed the first image to be taken of a memory being formed.
Besides proving the theory, it showed that short-term memories did not form new proteins. The exact role that the protein’s presence (or lack thereof) plays in the difference between short-term and long-term memories remains a mystery.
When The Whim Flows It Knows Where To Go —
One evening at Guruprasad before Baba was about to retire,
He walked by the building where the mandali resided. He was
en route to the small room where He would go for His night’s
rest. While passing, a question was brought up. At that time
Baba said everything is done by the whim, that we do not do
I said, “Baba, all along You have been telling us that the
Avatar does so much; He changes this and He does that.
Now You say it is all the whim.
“Suppose Baba, for example, that the flow of the whim goes in a straight line. One man is here and another is there. The one man has been in penance of God, praying to Him for a number of years. The other man is one of the greatest rogues and scoundrels of the world. They are in their respective places.
Can it happen, Baba, in the flow, in the blessings of the
whim, that instead of covering this righteous man it covers
the scoundrel and purifies him?”
Baba said yes. I then asked about the men. Baba said, “You do not know, you fool.” I then asked how I could account for that.
He replied, “You only see the present life of the man who is a
scoundrel whereas I see the millions of past lives of what he
has done before. Perhaps the righteous man was the greatest scoundrel in his previous lives. So I have to explain that when the whim flows, it knows where to go and where not to go.”
JUST TO LOVE HIM, p. 78
By Adi K. Irani
Copyright 1985 AMBPPCT
“Letter to a Would-Be Entrepreneur” https://medium.com/s/story/dear-founder-maynard-webb-advice-excerpt-letter-to-a-would-be-entrepreneur-baeb0235ab88
A Man Called Ralf
There once was a man from venus.
He said, “See the fungus genus!”
It was rather naked,
But not very gay kid,
And he couldn’t resist the type genus.
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