Long years ago, in what now seems like a previous lifetime, I used to drive every morning to work, and listening to the radio was an enjoyable distraction from the crazy traffic and a way to keep up with the latest music. Now I work from home and along with driving, listening to the radio has become a rare occurrence! But this morning I was in my car driving after a long time, and switched on the radio. Every single advertisement had something to do with illness – ads for medicines conveniently delivered at home, ads for new super speciality hospitals opening up, ads which tell you not to ignore stomach pain as it might turn into cancer, ads for health insurance which will cover not only the cost of your treatment abroad but also fly you and a companion there by business class! Just listening to the ads is enough to make you sick.
An attractive opportunity develops: About a decade ago, during an evening visit to the neighbourhood garden with her friends, my mother heard about a Vitamin E supplement that improved the quality of one’s skin and hair. One of the elderly ladies in the group had been prescribed the tablet by her doctor. My mother and all the other ladies in that group ended up checking with their doctors and then taking the Vitamin E supplement too.
Yoga started in India, was exported to the West, became wildly popular there, and is now seeing a resurgence in interest in India. Ayurveda, on the other hand, has not become anywhere near as widely accepted in the West as yoga has. Passion, patriotism and antipathy to big pharma make an objective discussion on alternative remedies like Ayurveda somewhat difficult. What is tougher still is focussing the discussion on “genuine” Ayurveda and ignoring the myriad products that simply claim to be Ayurvedic.
Today, we see great innovations and unforeseen interventions in the area of medical sciences and healthcare – whether these are low-cost sanitary napkins or highly sophisticated implants. The research community have even ventured into producing organs and artificial meat in the lab. And it won’t be wrong to say that materials development has contributed immensely to this disruptive development. Recently, I was reading about nicotine patches which basically function to satisfy the urges of mind and body, while avoiding the adverse effects of smoking. Transdermal patches like these also have one particular advantage, that is it reduces the need for frequent dosing, causes lesser systemic side effects and offer overall good patient compliance. Of course, bringing something like this to the market involves two things: one to make such interventions possible technologically and second cost optimisation to make it accessible to the people.
Being son of a doctor, I saw healthcare from very close quarters but the fact that it kept my father so busy, I chose the easy way out, become an engineer! After finishing 4 eventful years at IIT, the only goal for me was to land up in a good job. While at IIT, as creativity flows, I did come up with an idea for a non-stop transportation system, and shared that with my friends and they couldn’t stop making fun of me for next 3 days. That self-consciousness and fear was enough for me to not pursue on the idea. 10 years later when I sent a link showing a prototype and a patent on the same idea, guess what my friends did, laughed at me again! This time for me not having the conviction to pursue my idea. I believe they were right.
A marathon before you’re 40 is impressive, but isn’t it more impressive to run one after 40?
My experience at the Portland Marathon was so poor, I initially resolved to never run another marathon. However, by the beginning of 2016, that experience was a distant but embarrassing memory, and I was eager to erase it with a better effort. I found a training plan in the Nike+ app that seemed reasonable. My friend Conor and I decided to join forces in marathon prep, and we used the Nike+ plan fairly religiously. Conor introduced me to the wonders of interval training, and we added 800m intervals after reading a Runner’s World article on Yasso 800s.
We are back again with our second installment of the lit quiz! Don’t miss this second fun chance of flexing your literary muscle. Get cracking on the first installment of a dazzingly creative lit quiz. The beehivers had a great time going through the questions. It’s quite a bit of fun. So get your engines running!
We live in a world that is expecting widespread economic growth in 2018, the likes of which, it has not seen after the great collapse of 2008 and rightly so. Real estate prices are creeping to record levels, as also commodity prices and stock market indices. Have we forgotten the several casualties in the corporate world, real estate, banking, and a wide swathe of other sectors, shattered dreams and broken lives of ordinary people in the aftermath of crisis of ten years ago? Have we learnt our lessons? No. The pattern of mass memory lapse for which documented history exists is mankind’s curse.
Here in Taluka. Cool, windy, drizzly. The forest rest house is spacious, musty, British.
Let’s trace the path up to here… From Delhi took a bus to Dehra Dun. Overnight journey… slept most of the way. Reached Purola. Small town. Boasts of Monica Beauty Parlour! Stayed there overnight. Stuffed ourselves on decent Jain food. Said our farewells to electricity, phones, tap-water and other such necessities of life. Took a couple of jeeps that lugged the thirteen of us here.
Came via Sankri… a good journey. Had a glimpse of the snow capped peaks. The vegetation got steadily denser and richer. Purola and Sankri presented a rather homogeneous look. Only tall pines. No undergrowth. The ground was carpeted with the brown, soft yet prickly pine needles.
[The article below was originally an Institute lecture given by the author on August 3, 2017. Here’s the link to the video recording.]
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to deliver this prestigious Institute Lecture. I will not indulge in speculative technology forecasting but all the same, transport you into the future, because the kind of research projects or non-academic careers that you could choose may change if you knew some aspects of the future with a degree of certainty. I will demonstrate that you can even today see many of the things that will, probably, happen in a few years. You just need to identify important technological developments that have already happened and then study their impact, when adopted in specific fields, and then, study the impact of those things on things that lie further downstream. My interest in these things started one summer night in Aberdeen in 2007 when I heard on TV that a British Bank, Northern Rock had collapsed suddenly due to investments in CDS (Collateral Default Swaps), an instrument that most people had not heard of till then. I wondered how things could have been different for hapless investors, if this collapse could have been anticipated. Research led me to understand that Banks were speculating in that instrument and that it was being used by Bankers in the US to create multiple layers of pseudo assets built on poor quality loans given to people with doubtful credit history. After understanding the chain of events backwards from Northern Rock’s collapse to the root cause, I found that if one had worked forward from when reckless trading in naked CDSs had started, it would have been possible to predict the Northern Rock collapse. This thought enthused me to use the same process in the forward direction starting with the then situation, and that led me to believe that the entire global economy will collapse in the next year. I gave talks on this at various public forums from November 2007 until March 2008 by which time the fault-lines became self-evident and the collapse happened in July 2008. Then onwards, for the past decade, I have been using this very simple process of deductive logic for predicting the future after identifying things that can trigger change- social trends, politics and technology amongst many others. That is the secret behind predicting that oil price would collapse in 2008 whilst the general opinion, including that of Goldman Sachs, was that it would rise from $140 per barrel to $180.