And, now, I realize…


.
Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

.

At 17, I was trying to finish school and start college.

At 21, I was trying to finish college and start working.

And, then I was trying to love, get married and have children.

And, then I was waiting for my children to grow.

And, then I was trying hard to provide for my family.

And, then I was trying to retire.

And, now, I am 73 and on the verge of dying…

And, now,I realize I forgot to live.

.

And, now, I realize I forgot to live

.

Related articles

Advertisements

Paul Smith, the Amazing Typewriter Artist


.
Myself  .By T.V. Antony Raj

.

In 1575, Francesco Rampazzetto, an Italian printmaker, invented the ‘scrittura tattile, a machine to impress letters on papers.

Hammond 1B typewriter, invented in 1870s, manufactured 1881.
Hammond 1B typewriter, invented in 1870s, manufactured 1881.

The above is a woodcut print of Hammond model 1B typewriter from 1880s, from a mail-order catalog for library supplies. American journalist James Bartlett Hammond invented in the 1870. It was and manufactured by the Hammond Typewriter Co., New York, starting in 1881-1884.

Besides the curved keyboard, the Hammond machines had other unique features. The typefaces were on two interchangeable semicircular type wheels. This allowed the machine to change to other fonts and languages. Instead of the types striking the paper, a hammer behind the page struck a rubber sheet. This pushed the paper onto the ribbon and typewheel.

The early typewriters were mechanical machines used for writing. The typist pressed buttons on a keyboard to move type elements that struck a cotton ribbon impregnated with coloured ink. This resulted in impressing a facsimile of the character onto paper placed underneath the ribbon.

The typewriters became indispensable tools for all writings other than personal correspondence. They were  used in offices, and for business correspondence in private homes. By the end of the 1980s, personal computers and word processors displaced typewriters in the Western world. But even today the typewriter is still in prominent use in many parts of the world, including India.

Watermill by Paul Smith
Watermill by Paul Smith

Can you believe that an artist used a typewriter to create the above picture of a watermill? This is the creation of Paul Smith, an extraordinary typewriter artist afflicted with severe spastic cerebral palsy.

Paul Smith was born on September 21, 1921, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States.

The spastic cerebral impeded his speech and mobility. The loss of fine motor control of his face and hands made it impossible for him to attend school. He was not able to eat, clothe, or bathe himself. The affliction also made it difficult for him to express himself.

Paul discovered the typewriter early in life. He developed his own technique for using it to create pictures. He used one hand to steady the other to press the desired key. By the age of 15, Paul was creating typewriter art. He persevered in refining his technique.

Since he couldn’t press two keys at the same time, Paul almost always locked the shift key down. He created his pictures using the symbols at the top of the number keys. He based his pictures on these characters:

!      @      #      $      %      ^      &      *      (      )      _      +

.

Mona Lisa by Paul Smith
Mona Lisa by Paul Smith

Later on, Paul developed his own techniques to create shadings, colors, and textures to resemble pencil and charcoal drawings.

In the 1940s, Paul’s family moved to Hollywood, Florida.

For seventy years Paul painstakingly created hundreds of incredible works of art using his typewriter. He often gave the originals away. Sometimes, but not always, he kept or received a copy for his own records.

Click on this line to see Paul Smith’s typewriter art.

Paul used to play chess. His incredible skills in visualizing and calculating made him a formidable chess player.

Paul was a humble person with much humility and a charming, self-deprecating sense of humor. He excelled at making the lives of those around him much richer. Paul was a devout Catholic. He believed that his talent was a gift from God.

He never married. In 1967 he entered a retirement facility – the Rose Haven Nursing Center in Roseburg, Oregon, USA. He lived there until his death on June 25, 2007.

Paul Smith the amazing typewriter artist was, and is, an inspiration for all.

.

RELATED ARTICLES

 

Word Cognitive Development in Infants


.
Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

.

Flashcards (Source: Jenni Bowlin Studio / store.scrapbook.com)
Flashcards (Source: store.scrapbook.com)

Typically, the term ‘infant’ applies to young children between the ages of one month and 12 months. Yet, definitions may vary including children even between birth and two years of age.

In recent years, researchers have collected about 5000 assessments of cognitive development in infants between the age of 10 and 24 months.

I am presenting here just a sample of three videos of infants recognizing words.

In the following video uploaded on September 19, 2009, baby Torin alias TNT was 10 1/2 months. He skilfully recognizes words from flashcards. Every day, his dad makes new cards to continue his language development.

The following video was uploaded two months later on November 20, 2009 when infant Torin was one year and 20 days old. It shows TNT’s progress in his reading ability.

The 19 month old girl in the following video started to recognize words when she was six months old. Now she can recognize hundreds of words in two languages and knows what every word means. She can also identify colours and shapes. She recognizes images of the planets in our Solar System.

.

RELATED ARTICLES

.

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the United States


.
Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

.

Great Seal of the United States

.

Today, Ebola virus disease (EVD) represents a major public health issue, not only in sub-Saharan Africa, where it originated, but also to the whole world.

Researchers believe that the index case of the current EVD epidemic was the death of a 2-year-old boy in the village of Meliandou, Guéckédou Prefecture, in the West African nation of Guinea.

Guinea’s local health officials reported the first cases of fever in February 2014. They diagnosed the early cases as other diseases more common to the area and not as Ebola.

On March 19, 2014, Reuters reported an outbreak of an undetermined haemorrhagic fever in Guinea.

On March 22, 2014, Guinea confirmed that the viral hemorrhagic fever that killed more than 50 people is Ebola. On the same day, Liberia reported two EVD cases.

On March 30, 2014, Sierra Leone reported suspected cases.

On April 4, 2014, a mob attacked the Ebola treatment center in Guinea. In Sierra Leone and Liberia healthcare workers faced hostility from fearful, suspicious people.

On June 17, 2014, Liberia’s capital Monrovia reported the first case of Ebola.

On July 27, 2014, Liberia closed its borders with neighbouring countries. Three days later, Liberia shut down all schools. It quarantined worse-affected communities using troops.

On August 2, 2014, a U.S. missionary physician infected with Ebola in Liberia was flown to Atlanta in the United States for treatment.

On August 5, 2014, a second U.S. missionary infected with Ebola was flown from Liberia to Atlanta for treatment.

On August 8, 2014, World Health Organization (WHO) declared Ebola as “international public health emergency.”

On August 15, 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders said it would take about six months to control the epidemic.

On August 19, 2014, one of the two U.S. missionaries treated in Atlanta declared free of the virus was released from the hospital.

On August 21, 2014, the second U.S. missionary treated in Atlanta declared free of the virus was released from the hospital.

By September the epidemic accelerated in sub-Saharan Africa.

On September 3, 2014, a third U.S. missionary doctor infected with Ebola was flown from Liberia for treatment in Omaha, Nebraska.

On September 7, 2014, President Barack Obama said the United States needs to do more to help prevent Ebola from becoming a global crisis.

On September 8, 2014, a fourth Ebola patient was flown to Atlanta.

On September 9, 2014, WHO said at least 2,296 died out of 4,293 cases recorded in five countries.

On September 13, 2014, Liberia appealed to Obama for help fight Ebola.

On September 16, 2014, President Obama promised to send 3,000 military engineers and medical personnel to West Africa to build clinics and train healthcare workers.

Thomas Eric Duncan (Source: abcnews.go.com)
Thomas Eric Duncan (Source: abcnews.go.com)

On September 20, 2014, Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian, flew to the United States after trying to help a woman with Ebola in his home county. He flew from Liberia to Dallas in the United States via Brussels and Washington.

On September 25, 2014, Duncan went to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas with fever and abdominal pain. Despite telling a nurse that he travelled from West Africa, the hospital sent him back to the apartment where he was staying with antibiotics.

On September 28, 2014, Duncan returned to Dallas hospital by ambulance.

On September 30, 2014, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed Duncan afflicted with Ebola. This was the first case diagnosed in the United States.

On October 2, 2014, NBC News said that Ashoka Mukpo, the American freelance cameraman in its employ, afflicted with Ebola will be flown to the United States for treatment.

On October 8, 2014, Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died in Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

The United States government ordered five major airports to screen passengers from West Africa for fever.

On October 9, 2014, WHO said there is no evidence of the epidemic being brought under control in West Africa. Some lawmakers in the United States called for the ban of travelers from the West African countries hit hardest by Ebola.

On October 10, 2014, WHO raised the death toll to 4,033 out of 8,399 cases in seven countries. Most fatalities were in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

On October 11, 2014, Medical teams at New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport began screening travelers for Ebola symptoms from three West African countries.

Ebola survivor Nina Pham appears at a press conference after she was discharged from the hospital on ct. 24, 2014. (Source: abcnews.go.com)
Ebola survivor Nina Pham appears at a press conference after she was discharged from the hospital on October 24, 2014. (Source: abcnews.go.com)

On October 12, 2014, Nina Pham the nurse who took care of Liberian, Thomas Eric Duncan, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas tested positive for Ebola. She became the first person to contract the virus in the United States. U.S. National Institutes of Health said nurse Pham will be moved from Dallas to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) isolation unit in Bethesda, Maryland.

Nurse Amber Vinson (Source: nbcnews.com)
Nurse Amber Vinson (Source: nbcnews.com)

On October 15, 2014, officials said that Amber Vinson, a second Texas nurse who treated Duncan had contracted Ebola. She was treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Authorities said Vinson took a flight from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport while running a slight fever.

On October 16, 2014, a U.S. congressional subcommittee sharply questioned health officials about the response to Ebola in the United States.

Dr. Craig Spencer (Source - nbcnews.com)
Dr. Craig Spencer (Source – nbcnews.com)

On October 17, 2014, The 33-year-old Dr. Craig Spencer, a New York doctor returned from Ebola-hit Guinea. Spencer, treated Ebola patients while working for MSF. After completing his work on October 12, 2014, he left Guinea two days later via Brussels, Belgium. He arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, on October 17, 2014. On his arrival, he did not exhibit any symptoms of the virus. The physician, who worked at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, was checking his temperature twice a day. He had not seen any patients since his return.

On October 20, 2014, Emory University Hospital in Atlanta released an unidentified American who had contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone.

In Texas, 43 people were taken off Ebola watch lists. About 260 people were still being monitored in Texas and Ohio. United States issued stricter guidelines for health workers treating Ebola victims. Not to expose skin or hair.

On Tuesday, October 21, 2014, Dr. Spencer started feeling fatigued and sluggish though without a fever. That day, he visited a coffee stand and a meatball restaurant in Manhattan. The next day, he ran for three miles in his neighborhood, and took the subway to a bowling alley in Brooklyn. He was not symptomatic then.

On October 23, 2014, Spencer developed a fever, nausea, pain and fatigue in the morning. His fever spiked to 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit (about 38 Celsius). He tested positive for Ebola. He is the first case of the deadly virus in New York City and the fourth diagnosed in the United States.

Health officials cleared both the coffee stand and the bowling alley after assessing them. After closing the bowling alley on Thursday, they had the bar cleaned and sanitized as a precaution.

Spencer’s Manhattan apartment has been isolated and locked.

Spencer was in contact with a few people after he started exhibiting symptoms. Ebola is not contagious until someone has symptoms. Health officials said that three people – his fiancée and two friends – are on quarantine and monitored,

“They are all well at this time; none of them is sick,” said Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, New York City’s health commissioner.

Spencer also travelled on three subway lines. “At the time that the doctor was on the subway, he did not have fever… He was not symptomatic,” Bassett said. The chances of anyone contracting the virus from contact him are “close to nil,” she said.

Ebola spreads by direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person. The time between exposure to the virus and the development of symptoms of the disease is usually two to 21 days. Estimates based on mathematical models predict around 5% of cases might take greater than 21 days to develop the symptoms.

Dr. Craig Spencer is now lodged at New York’s Bellevue Hospital Center. He has been in isolation since emergency personnel took him there. It is one of the eight hospitals statewide designated by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of an Ebola preparedness plan.

“We are as ready as one could be,” Cuomo said. New York state will be different from Texas he said.

“We had the advantage of learning from the Dallas experience,” he said, recalling the death of Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan on October 8, 2014, diagnosed with Ebola.

.

RELATED ARTICLES

Fake Stories of Snakes Swallowing Humans


.
Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

.

 

Photograph shows a python purported to have eaten a drunken man in India. (Source - snopes.com)
Photograph shows a python purported to have eaten a drunken man in India. (Source: snopes.com)

The above image of a snake makes regular rounds of the Internet every few months or so. Each time the incident was purported to have occurred in a different geographic locale.

Today, once again, I came across the same photograph of a distended snake with the caption: “ANACONDA EATS WOMAN ALIVE!”

In August 2012, someone using this photograph, claimed a serpent ate a man in Qujing, China.

In January 2013, the snake swallowed another person in Jakarta, Indonesia,

In February 2013, it gobbled a man whole in Panama.

In June 2013, it devoured a woman near Durban North, South Africa.

In October 2013, the snake gulped down a 4-year-old child in Pasir Gudang, Malaysia.

In November 2013, the python made its way to Attapady, Kerala, India to swallow a drunkard lying beside the liquor shop.

Now, you be the judge.

The Python

Python reticulatus (Photo credit: Mariluna)
Python reticulatus (Photo credit: Mariluna)

The Python reticulatus also known as the (Asiatic) reticulated python, is a species found in Southeast Asia. The specific name, reticulatus, is Latin meaning “net-like”, or reticulated, and is a reference to the complex color pattern. They are the world’s longest snakes and longest reptile, but are not the most heavily built. Adult pythons can grow to 22.8 feet (6.95 metres) in length, and grow to an average length of 10–20 feet (3–6 metres). They are nonvenomous constrictors and not considered dangerous to humans. Although large specimens are powerful enough to kill an adult human, reports of attacks are rare. It is not found in countries such as South Africa.

The Boa constrictor

Boa constrictor (Photo credit: Pavel Ševela / Wikimedia Commons)
Boa constrictor (Photo credit: Pavel Ševela / Wikimedia Commons)

The Boa constrictor is a species of large, heavy-bodied snake. It is a member of the family Boidae found in North, Central, and South America, as well as some islands in the Caribbean. It has varied colour and pattern and are distinctive. Ten subspecies are currently recognized.

The Anaconda

Green Anaconda (Cobra Sucuri) (Photo credit: Wagner Meier / en.wikipedia.org)
Green Anaconda (Cobra Sucuri) (Photo credit: Wagner Meier / en.wikipedia.org)

The anaconda is a large snake found in tropical South America. Although the name applies to a group of snakes, it is often used to refer only to one species in particular, the common or green anaconda, Eunectes murinus. It is one of the largest snakes in the world.

Although the name refers to a snake found only in South America, the name commonly used in Brazil is sucuri, sucuriju or sucuriuba.

Peter Martyr d’Anghiera suggested the South American names anacauchoa and anacaona. Henry Walter Bates questioned the idea of the origin of the South American names. Bates in his travels in South America, failed to find any similar name in use.

Some researchers believe the word anaconda is derived from the name of a snake from Ceylon (Sri Lanka). In 1684 Andreas Cleyer described its habit. Cleyer described a gigantic snake that crushed large animals by coiling and crushing their bones.

Henry Yule in his Hobson-Jobson noted the word anaconda became more popular due to a piece of fiction by a certain R. Edwin published in 1768 in the Scots Magazine. Edwin described an anaconda crushing and killing a tyger when in fact tigers never occurred in Sri Lanka. Yule and Frank Wall noted that the snake was in fact a python. They suggested a word of Tamil origin anai-kondra (Tamil: ஆனை கொன்றா) meaning elephant killer.

A more-likely Sinhalese origin was suggested by Donald Ferguson. He said the word Henakandaya (Sinhalese: හෙනකන්දය; hena = lightning or large, kanda = stem or trunk) was used in Sri Lanka for the small whip snake (Ahaetulla pulverulenta).

.

RELATED ARTICLES

Fatu Kekula: the Brave Ebola Lifesaver


.
Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

.

The rampant spreading of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Liberia, has created a chaos in that country. As on October 18, 2014, out of the 4,665 patients diagnosed for Ebola in Liberia, 2,705 died. In the past week alone Monrovia reported 305 new EVD cases. Out of the 15 counties in Liberia 14 have reported cases of Ebola. Only Grand Gedeh county has yet to report an EVD case.

Even before the outbreak of the Ebola virus, Liberia faced a health crisis. It had only 50 physicians in the entire country – one for every 70,000 citizens. In September 2014, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that some hospitals in Liberia had been abandoned, and the hospitals which were still functioning lacked basic facilities. They did not have running water, rubber gloves, and sanitizing supplies.

At the end of August 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that Liberia fell short of 1,550 beds to treat EVD patients. In September, a new 150-bed treatment clinic opened in the capital, Monrovia. At the time of the opening ceremony six ambulances were already waiting with potential Ebola patients. More patients were waiting by the clinic after making their way on foot with the help of relatives.

The treatment of EVD in other parts of the country is more pathetic. To add to the woes, on October 12, 2014, Liberian nurses threatened a strike over wages.

Fatu Kekula, 22-year-old Liberian student nurse (Source: edition.cnn.com)
Fatu Kekula, 22-year-old Liberian student nurse (Source: edition.cnn.com)

Amidst this chaos comes the story of Fatu Kekula, a brave 22-year-old Liberian nursing student.  She took care of four relatives affected by the Ebola virus by herself. She managed to save three out of the four patients, she cared for. That is a whopping 25% death rate, far better than the estimated average Ebola death rate of 58% in Liberia. Now, her unique methods for survival are being taught all over West Africa.

In July 2014, Fatu’s father, Moses Kekula, experienced high blood pressure. She took him to the local hospital in Kakata. After admitting Moses, the crowded hospital provided a bed that had become free. At that time, none of Fatu’s family members knew that the previous occupant of the bed had died from EVD. Soon after, Moses showed symptoms of EVD. He developed a fever. He started vomiting and had diarrhoea. A few days later the authorities shut down the hospital because nurses started dying of EVD.

Fatu then took her father to Monrovia. Three hospitals turned him away because they were already filled over capacity. So, Fatu took her father back to Kakata and got him admitted in another hospital. There they said he had typhoid fever and did little for him. Frustrated, Fatu returned home with her father.

At home Moses infected three other family members: his wife Victoria (57), elder daughter Vivian (28), and nephew Alfred Winnie (14). Fatu was the only unaffected family member.

Fatu contacted their family doctor. But he refused to come to their home, fearing the possibility of getting infected. Taking the next best option, Fatu requested the doctor to for directions. She got the medicines and fluids prescribed by the doctor from a local clinic. Her training at the nursing school helped her create her own intravenous lines.

Fatu Kekula, 22-year-old Liberian student nurse  saved her father's life in this makeshift isolation ward in a spare unfinished room at home. - MCT
Fatu Kekula, 22-year-old Liberian student nurse saved her father’s life in this makeshift isolation ward in a spare unfinished room at home. – MCT

Fatu then began to take care of her father, mother, sister, and cousin, all by herself. She put her three patients – father, mother and cousin in makeshift isolation ward in a spare unfinished room at home.

Fatu Kekula, 22-year-old Liberian student nurse. She took all the precautions for avoiding contact by using layers of trash bags on her feet and hair. She wore rubber boots, four pairs of gloves, and a face mask. (Source: edition.cnn.com)
Fatu Kekula, 22-year-old Liberian student nurse. She took all the precautions for avoiding contact by using layers of trash bags on her feet and hair. She wore rubber boots, four pairs of gloves, and a face mask. (Source: edition.cnn.com)

She did not have personal protection equipment such as those white space suits and goggles used in Ebola treatment units. She invented her own protective gear. She came up with the trash bag method. She took all the precautions for avoiding contact by using layers of trash bags on her feet and hair. She wore rubber boots, four pairs of gloves, and a face mask.

She fed her patients, gave them medicines, and cleaned them, all by herself day in and day out. It is a miracle that Fatu herself was not infected in the two weeks she was taking care of her family though she was in close contact with them.

On August 17, 2014, space became available at John F. Kennedy Medical Center, the national medical center of Liberia, located in the Sinkor district of Monrovia. Fatu’s father, mother, and sister recovered, but her cousin Alfred Winnie succumbed to the disease at the hospital the following day.

Fatu Kekula’s father is trying to find a scholarship for her that so she can finish her final year of nursing school. He has no doubt his daughter will go on to save more lives in the future.

.

.

RELATED ARTICLES

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Liberia


.
Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

.

Coat of arms of Liberia

.

On December 6, 2013, a 2-year-old boy died in the village of Meliandou, Guéckédou Prefecture, Guinea. Researchers believe the boy’s death was the index case of the current Ebola virus disease epidemic.

Hammer-headed bat (Hypsignathus monstrosus), also known as the big-lipped bat, is a megabat widely distributed in equatorial Africa. (Credit - Shyamal - Wikipedia)
Hammer-headed bat (Hypsignathus monstrosus), also known as the big-lipped bat, is a megabat widely distributed in equatorial Africa. (Credit – Shyamal – Wikipedia)

Bushmeat refers to meat from non-domesticated mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds hunted for food in tropical forests. The dead boy’s family were hunters of bats for bushmeat. They hunted the Ebola-harbouring species Hypsignathus monstrous and Epomops franqueti. This may have been the original source of the infection. The dead boy’s mother, sister, and grandmother fell ill with similar symptoms and died. People infected by those victims spread the disease to other villages.

Now, Ebola represents a major public health issue in sub-Saharan Africa. But in early 2014, West Africa did not report any no cases of Ebola. The early cases of Ebola were diagnosed as other diseases more common to the area. Thus, the disease had several months to spread before it was recognized as Ebola.

On Wednesday, March 19, 2014,  Reuters reported an outbreak of an undetermined viral haemorrhagic fever in the West African nation of Guinea. According to Guinea’s local health officials, the first case of the fever was reported in February 2014 that sickened at least 35 people and killed 23.

Dr. Sakoba Keita, the doctor in charge of the prevention of epidemics in Guinea’s Health Ministry said:

“Symptoms appear as diarrhoea and vomiting, with a very high fever. Some cases showed relatively heavy bleeding… We thought it was Lassa fever or another form of cholera, but this disease seems to strike like lightning. We are looking at all possibilities, including Ebola, because bushmeat is consumed in that region and Guinea is in the Ebola belt.”

Keita also said that most of the victims had been in contact with the deceased or had handled the dead bodies. He said those infected had been isolated, and they had sent samples to Senegal and France for further tests.

By March 24, 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders had set up an isolation facility in Guéckédou.

By late May 2014, the outbreak had spread to Guinea’s capital, Conakry, a city of about two million inhabitants. On May 28, 2014, the total number of cases reported had reached 281 with 186 deaths.

In late March 2014, Liberia, reported the spread of Ebola in Lofa and Nimba counties. In mid-April 2014, the Liberia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare recorded possible cases of Ebola in Margibi and Montserrado counties. In mid-June 2014, Liberia’s capital Monrovia reported the first cases of Ebola. On July 27, 2014, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Liberian president, announced that Liberia would close its borders with neighbouring countries. In August, he declared a national state of emergency, with the “suspensions of certain rights and privileges”.

Liberia faced a health crisis even before the outbreak of the Ebola virus. It had only 50 physicians in the entire country — one for every 70,000 Liberians. In September 2014, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that some hospitals in Liberia had been abandoned. The report also said the hospitals which were still functioning lacked basic facilities such as running water, rubber gloves, and sanitizing supplies.

At the end of August, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that Liberia’s capacity to treat Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases fell short of 1,550 beds. In September, a new 150-bed treatment clinic was opened in Monrovia. At the time of the opening ceremony six ambulances were already waiting with potential Ebola patients. More patients were waiting by the clinic after making their way on foot with the help of relatives.

2014 ebola virus epidemic in West Africa (Author: Mikael Häggström)
2014 Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa (Author: Mikael Häggström)

As on October 19, 2014, out of the 4,665 patients diagnosed for Ebola in Liberia, 2,705 had died. In the past week alone Monrovia reported 305 new EVD cases. Out of the 15 counties in Liberia 14 have reported cases of Ebola. Only Grand Gedeh has yet to report an EVD case.

.

RELATED ARTICLES

Sex Change: George to Christine in 1952.


Shades of Pink

.

pekerotool 100x130 . By Peker O’ Tool ©

.

We didn’t start the sexual revolution but I think we gave it a good kick in the pants!” – Christine Jorgensen

.

In the 1930s, a sex change surgery attempted in Berlin on a patient known as Lili Elbe failed. It was most likely the first attempt at a modern sex change surgery. The patient died after the last of the series of operations.

George William Jorgensen, born on May 30, 1926, grew up as a happy child in a large close-knit family, in a crime-ridden area of the Bronx, New York City. He was a frail, blond, introverted little boy who ran away from fistfights and rough-and-tumble games.

As a teenager, George realized that he was gender wise trapped in the wrong body due to lack of male physical development. In 1945, he graduated from Christopher Columbus High School.

View original post 1,223 more words

The Great Tantra Challenge


Re-posted from Indian Rationalist Association

.

Tantra fails in live TV programme

.


.

On 3 March 2008, in a popular TV show, Sanal Edamaruku, the president of Rationalist International, challenged India’s most “powerful” tantrik (black magician) to demonstrate his powers on him. That was the beginning of an unprecedented experiment. After all his chanting of mantra (magic words) and ceremonies of tantra failed, the tantrik decided to kill Sanal Edamaruku with the “ultimate destruction ceremony” on live TV. Sanal Edamaruku agreed and sat in the altar of the black magic ritual. India TV observed skyrocketing viewership rates.

Everything started, when Uma Bharati (former chief minister of the state of Madhya Pradesh) accused her political opponents in a public statement of using tantrik powers to inflict damage upon her. In fact, within a few days, the unlucky lady had lost her favorite uncle, hit the door of her car against her head and found her legs covered with wounds and blisters.

India TV, one of India’s major Hindi channels with national outreach, invited Sanal Edamaruku for a discussion on “Tantrik power versus Science”. Pandit Surinder Sharma, who claims to be the tantrik of top politicians and is well known from his TV shows, represented the other side. During the discussion, the tantrik showed a small human shape of wheat flour dough, laid a thread around it like a noose and tightened it. He claimed that he was able to kill any person he wanted within three minutes by using black magic. Sanal challenged him to try and kill him.

The tantrik tried. He chanted his mantras (magic words): “Om lingalingalinalinga, kilikili….” But his efforts did not show any impact on Sanal – not after three minutes, and not after five. The time was extended and extended again. The original discussion program should have ended here, but the “breaking news” of the ongoing great tantra challenge was overrunning all program schedules.

Now the tantrik changed his technique. He started sprinkling water on Sanal and brandishing a knife in front of him. Sometimes he moved the blade all over his body. Sanal did not flinch. Then he touched Sanal’s head with his hand, rubbing and rumpling up his hair, pressing his forehead, laying his hand over his eyes, pressing his fingers against his temples. When he pressed harder and harder, Sanal reminded him that he was supposed to use black magic only, not forceful attacks to bring him down. The tantrik took a new run: water, knife, fingers, mantras. But Sanal kept looking very healthy and even amused.

After nearly two hours, the anchor declared the tantrik’s failure. The tantrik, unwilling to admit defeat, tried the excuse that a very strong god whom Sanal might be worshipping obviously protected him. “No, I am an atheist,” said Sanal Edamaruku. Finally, the disgraced tantrik tried to save his face by claiming that there was a never-failing special black magic for ultimate destruction, which could, however, only been done at night. Bad luck again, he did not get away with this, but was challenged to prove his claim this very night in another “breaking news” live program.

During the next three hours, India TV ran announcements for The Great Tantra Challenge that called several hundred million people to their TV sets.

The encounter took place under the open night sky. The tantrik and his two assistants were kindling a fire and staring into the flames. Sanal was in good humour. Once the ultimate magic was invoked, there wouldn’t be any way back, the tantrik warned. Within two minutes, Sanal would get crazy, and one minute later he would scream in pain and die. Didn’t he want to save his life before it was too late? Sanal laughed, and the countdown begun. The tantriks chanted their “Om lingalingalingalinga, kilikilikili….” followed by ever changing cascades of strange words and sounds. The speed increased hysterically. They threw all kinds of magic ingredients into the flames that produced changing colours, crackling and fizzling sounds and white smoke. While chanting, the tantrik came close to Sanal, moved his hands in front of him and touched him, but was called back by the anchor. After the earlier covert attempts of the tantrik to use force against Sanal, he was warned to keep distance and avoid touching Sanal. But the tantrik “forgot” this rule again and again.

Now the tantrik wrote Sanal’s name on a sheet of paper, tore it into small pieces, dipped them into a pot with boiling butter oil and threw them dramatically into the flames. Nothing happened. Singing and singing, he sprinkled water on Sanal, mopped a bunch of peacock feathers over his head, threw mustard seed into the fire and other outlandish things more. Sanal smiled, nothing happened, and time was running out. Only seven more minutes before midnight, the tantrik decided to use his ultimate weapon: the clod of wheat flour dough. He kneaded it and powdered it with mysterious ingredients, then asked Sanal to touch it. Sanal did so, and the grand magic finale begun. The tantrik pierced blunt nails on the dough, then cut it wildly with a knife and threw them into the fire. That moment, Sanal should have broken down. But he did not. He laughed. Forty more seconds, counted the anchor, twenty, ten, five… it’s over!

Millions of people must have uttered a sigh of relief in front their TVs. Sanal was very much alive. Tantra power had miserably failed. Tantriks are creating such a scaring atmosphere that even people, who know that black magic has no base, can just break down out of fear, commented a scientist during the program. It needs enormous courage and confidence to challenge them by actually putting one’s life at risk, he said. By doing so, Sanal Edamaruku has broken the spell, and has taken away much of the fear of those who witnessed his triumph.

In this night, one of the most dangerous and wide spread superstitions in India suffered a severe blow.

The whole program is video-recorded and is available. If you want a copy, please contact: info_desk@rationalistinternational.net

Email: Click here for contacting Sanal Edamaruku by email.

 

“How is your father?”


.
Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

.

Be careful when you ask a modern British woman ‘how her father is’. You know not what you’re asking! She might even slap you.

The origin of the phrase is open to interpretation. The Urban Dictionary has seven thoughts about where it could have come from.

The first instance about the phrase “How is your father?” is hilarious.

Writer and historian Michael Kelly, a New Zealander, traces the origin of the expression “How’s your father?” to the Victorian era.

In those days, men with daughters were very protective. The fathers took extraordinary measures to safeguard the virtue of their unmarried daughters.

Unmarried girls were kept within the bosom of their family and chaperoned on excursions. On those occasions when let out-of-bounds for social events, their fathers would often go with them discreetly.

Victorian fashions

Believe it or not, those fathers used to hide underneath the voluminous skirts of their daughters, ready to pounce on any man who transgressed the bounds of propriety.

This was okay for a father with a single daughter. But how about a father with more than one daughter? He couldn’t be everywhere at once! So, a suitor having a discrete vis-à-vis with his girl, to find out her father’s whereabouts would cautiously ask: “Annie, how is your father?

If the girl’s father was now under her skirts, she would glance downwards to mean ‘Not now, Peter!’. She would then reply, “My father is well, thank you.” She might even add “He is alert and vigorous as ever, and maintains his interest in rusty castrating implements.

Her beau would then say, “I have always had the greatest respect for your father, and of course for you. Let us hold hands and think about the Queen for a while.

If the girl’s father was elsewhere, she might reply, “The mad old bastard is now between my sister Elizabeth’s thighs. Let us go into the garden and rut like stoats.

Pair of stoats

Hence, the phrase “How is your father?” became a euphemism for you-know-what.