Born a Star

Born a star is a fascinating, tropical and exotic fruit: the Star Fruit. Also known as Star Apple (scientifically referred to as Averrhoa carambola)

Having a tree of this beautiful fruit in our garden and relishing the taste of organic, freshly picked star fruits nowadays, I’ve been inspired to share my joy- and the journey of this starry fellow. Continue reading “Born a Star”

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Sweet, Honey!

One of the reasons Hagrid bought Harry Potter the owl Hedwig as a pet, over other pet choices, was the adeptness of the creature in delivering letters: “I’ll get yer an owl. All the kids want owls, they’re dead useful, carry yer mail an’ everythin’.” (Nostalgic, eh?)

Adapted from Uncyclopedia

The previous century saw birds, such as homing pigeons, successfully deliver letters during war and peace times. Plightful flights by homing pigeons during World Wars I and II helped save lives and relieve dire circumstances. In the 70s and 80s, English and French hospitals relied on pigeon post for transporting laboratory specimens.

Bird-human relationships date to ancient times. Few bonds last such a long time and yet, even today, this fascinating and complex relationship exists. Whereas the above instances involved tamed birds, wild birds are the heroes of the story below.

Continue reading “Sweet, Honey!”

Dazzle with a Duchenne (smile)

 

“Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.”

baby laughing
Picture from Pinterest

 

How often has your smile changed the world? Have you ever flashed this million-dollar curve to a complete stranger and see a relationship develop? And see a change in your “world”?

I was mulling over what to write. A smile from a complete stranger inspired this blog post and what fueled it were the smiles by hundreds of strangers from various backgrounds and ethnicity (I was attending an international competition* that’d attracted more than a thousand people from about 112 countries- and there are 196 countries in the world. This is when and how a smile brought a change in the world).

 

Smile 1

Continue reading “Dazzle with a Duchenne (smile)”

From Rome to Tomis and Back

(This is a term paper that I did for one of the Writing classes at uni)

 

 

The Roman poet, Ovid. Adapted from https://global.britannica.com/biography/Ovid-Roman-poet

This paper aims to investigate the influence of exile on the Roman poet, Ovid. The theme of his poetry prior to banishment differs substantially from that produced during exile owing to the change in surroundings, experiences, and state-of-mind of the poet. Ovid also introduces certain new poetic elements into his poetry, during his exile, to enrich his work. Scholars of Classics have highlighted several differences between Ovid’s pre- and post- exilic poetry. Four of those differences will be explored in this research paper, which are, the autobiographical nature of post-exilic work, exploitation of the redressive capacity of poetry, usage of creative word-magic and promotion of self-mythology, including intertextuality. The title of this research paper “From Rome to Tomis and Back” is inspired by Ovid’s physical (exilic) journey from Rome to Tomis and his return to Rome in the form of his books (Tristia and Epistulae Ex Ponto), which were, wherein,  preserved and left to be read and appreciated by generations to come.

 

On March 20, 43 BC the Italian Apennine valley of Sulmo saw the birth of one of the most celebrated poets of all time, Publius Ovidius Naso. More commonly known as Ovid, the poet-to-be belonged to an illustrious family of equestrian rank that lived in the city of Sulmo (present day Sulmona) to the east and slightly north of Rome.

Ovid received education in Sulmo and then in Rome for law and politics – an expected career for men belonging to a family of that standing.  However with a natural flair for poetry, Ovid soon denounced his political training for the love of poetry. At the ripe age of seventeen/eighteen, Ovid began narrating his poems in public recitals. Over the years, his works Amores, Metamorphoses, Fasti, Epistulae Heroides, Ars Amatoria and a few others soon earned him the eyes, ears and attention of the society. (Mack, 1988, p. 13-14)

Continue reading “From Rome to Tomis and Back”

To obey or not to obey: the science of habits

Whether you rub your nose in a particular way when it feels itchy, or walk down from your home to the nearest convenience store (you know you can get there blindfolded), or you’re once again buying exactly the same perfume you’ve been buying for the last twenty years (you might call it brand loyalty but I call it a habit, in the context of this blog post), these are all some of our trusty old habits that don’t die. Don’t die easily, at the very least.

A habit is a behavior that’s learned and repeated so often that you perform it unconsciously. Without thinking about it. And while you do them mechanically, let’s zero in on some basic neurobiology facts there. Continue reading “To obey or not to obey: the science of habits”

Ground-breaking drug cocktail exterminates breast cancer tumor within 11 days

 

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Adapted from http://www.theboredmind.com/health/9-signs-of-breast-cancer
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Adapted from http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-facts

 

 

 

 

 

 

A breakthrough cancer therapy destroys deadly tumors in a mere 11 days. Less than 2 weeks and the highly dreaded, life-threatening disease is uprooted.

This “astonishing” news was the outcome of a study funded by Cancer Research UK and conducted by the University of Manchester and the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation.

Trials showed a substantial decrease in tumor size, and in some cases, complete disappearance. Professor Nigel Bundred, professor of surgical oncology at the University of Manchester and lead researcher of this experiment admitted, “For solid tumors to disappear in 11 days is unheard of. These are mind boggling results.”  Continue reading “Ground-breaking drug cocktail exterminates breast cancer tumor within 11 days”

Vocal Learning Behavior in Songbirds (And how this relates to humans)

Masters of songs, and inspiring the works of the literati and artists of the past as well as the present, songbirds are an intriguing species. Their mellifluous string of songs is what fascinated renowned poets such as Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley, and painters such as Imru Al Qays, Ren Yi, and George Baselitz to place the magnificent songbird into their works.

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A pair of songbirds perched on a branch amidst flowers. Adapted from Youtube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIL-rb2l5S1)

This blog post aims to briefly shed light on the vocal learning behavior in songbirds, with a slight emphasis on the importance of the neurotransmitter dopamine, in vocal processing.

More than four thousand species of songbirds, almost fifty percent of the bird species, entertain human ears around the world with their unique melodious songs (Innovateus, n.d). They include Nightingales, Mockbirds, Musk Duck, Bengalese finches, American robins, Eastern bluebirds, Northern cardinals, to name but a few. Songbirds inhabit a diverse range of areas, encompassing open fields, woodlands, and other terrestrial habitats, as well as vegetated wetlands and shores.  Continue reading “Vocal Learning Behavior in Songbirds (And how this relates to humans)”

Fruits of my garden

Peeping through the many leaves, are the little adornments of the garden in my home: the mangoes, the apricots, and the guavas. We planted these little health bursts to nourish ourselves with their exceptional features as well as to beautify our garden.

I’ve summarized the health benefits of these luscious fruits in the figures below:

  1. The King of Fruits (And the family’s favorite!) : The Mango (Mangifera indica)

Mango

Source of the Mango photo: th1046319056.trustpass.alibaba.com/…/FRESH_MANGO_from_THAILAND

Details on the health benefits of the mango may be read at: healthimpactnews.com/…/17-reasons-why-you-need-a-mango-every-day

2. (The easy fruit, as I consider it!) The Guava (Psidium guajava)   Continue reading “Fruits of my garden”

A Mammoth Discovery…

Creatures in the animal kingdom, from tiny ones like wasps to the largest mammals on earth, the elephants, possess characteristic defence mechanisms against one of the most deadly and, unfortunately, common illnesses: cancer.

In my previous blog post , I wrote about Brazilian wasps having a protein (Polybia-MP1) that could help fight cancer.

In this post, I focus on the descendants of the mammoth: elephants.

Now cancer patients are rarely elephants even though by convention, they should be extremely cancer-prone. The theory behind this is that every time a cell divides, the DNA divides. Every time a DNA divides, there is a chance for mutation(s), which paves the path for formation of cancerous cells. So every time a cell divides, an organism is a step closer to mutated DNA and since larger animals have more cells, theoretically they should have more chances for mutation and hence, cancer.

Therefore, the massive elephant should have cancer more often than humans. But that is not in the case.  Continue reading “A Mammoth Discovery…”

Amaz(ing)on inhabitant contributes to potential cancer therapy

http://yournewswire.com/brazilian-wasp-venom-kills-cancer-cells-could-provide-cure/
http://yournewswire.com/brazilian-wasp-venom-kills-cancer-cells-could-provide-cure/

Read an intriguing article related to my field of study, that can be accessed at: http://www.businessinsider.com/brazilian-wasp-venom-kills-cancer-cells-2015-9

It talks about the Brazilian wasp, Polybia Paulista, harbouring venom that assaults cancerous cells. The best part: it leaves normal cells alone. Doesn’t bother them. Continue reading “Amaz(ing)on inhabitant contributes to potential cancer therapy”