Sunday, May 19, 2019

All scientific knowledge is uncertain, and that's why it's of a great value

Prof. Richard Feynman said that all scientific knowledge is uncertain. When I read this statement for the first time, I really didn't understand its meaning, but when I started conducting research in the field of chemistry I understood the importance of uncertainty in the field of science. Actually, uncertainty is what makes scientific knowledge different than any other field. The possibility that anyone can challenge any hypothesis, anyone can propose any rule, anyone can experimentally prove or disprove any theory. Anything, no matter proposed by who or how long ago can be proven wrong by anyone by enough data is what makes research fun and exciting endeavor. Scientists are used to dealing with doubt and uncertainty, otherwise, how can one dare to solve a problem which has never been solved before? How can one propose some new rule or predict some new theory? How can one try to find a cure for something which was untreatable before? This is why the experiences with doubt and uncertainty are very important for any scientist or a science student, someone should explain this inherent feature of sceit=ntific knowledge. 

When Feynman called scientific knowledge uncertain, he did not even remotely mean that it is unreliable. Uncertain doesn't equal to unreliable in this context, it just means that it is subject to change and nothing is fixed in stone. Now, this concept might be difficult to digest at first. How can something be uncertain and still be reliable at the same time? However, this can be the case, and if we look at the process of generating and evaluating the data in science we can very well understand how and why. Here, the uncertainty is not because of the content, but due to the process by which it is generated. The process has an inbuilt mechanism to challenge the status quo, encouragement to improve things and push the lines, start new frontiers, take up the new challenges, and finally, try to prove things wrong, and this what Feynman meant by calling scientific knowledge uncertain, it is not static, it's in a continuous flux. Once I understood this uncertainty, I really enjoyed my research and learned a lot from many failures which I faced while conducting it. Failures, actually, many of them, are an integral part of every researcher's life and acknowledging the inherent presence of doubt and uncertainty makes their journey more enjoyable and rewarding. Remember, this uncertainty is what stops from scientific knowledge becoming dogmatic. So, embrace the uncertainty and enjoy the journey of exciting scientific pursuit.

Thanks for reading and please share your opinion about this topic. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Balancing physics, chemistry, and biology of a relationship

If we analyze the dynamics of any relationship we will find they do involve elements of physics, chemistry, and biology. I don't mean that they literally involve basic concepts from these amazing branches of science, but any relationship, especially our relationship with our partner does involve important aspects of these three branches of science.

Let's first take chemistry, we need to have compatibility in any relationship, especially with our partner. Without compatibility, it's tough to live happily together. Imagine a relationship where people argue or fight continuously because they are not compatible with each other. Compatibility also doesn't mean you need to be very similar to each other or your things have to match on every point. People can be very different and still could complement each other very well. This is very chemistry becomes important, we all have certain traits and characteristics which we value or want to preserve, find a person who values that, who give you enough space and freedom to be yourself.

Next is physics, there are physical aspects to every relationship, this is an ignored and tabooed subject in most of the societies. People are not very open to talking about the physical aspects of the couple's relationship, but it is as important as any other aspect of the relationship. This aspect requires a lot of compassion, love, care, as well as respect. Consent should not be taken granted and wishes of each other should be respected to have a healthy physical relationship. Ignoring this aspect of the relationship could have a serious effect on other aspects of the relationship. 

Lastly biology, which many times we can control and many times we can't. This part requires some care, precaution, and knowledge. Without properly knowing the biological consequences of our actions, it is easy to make mistakes and then regret, some mistakes are correctable because of the help of medical science, but not always. It is better to be safe than sorry and this is true at every stage of the relationship. I am not just talking about the biological aspects of sexual behavior, but also about the effects of negligence towards personal health. Unhealthy habits are bound to show their effects at some stage, it is always better to be aware of our own personal health challenges and work to mitigate any health-related issues.

Striking the balance between all three aspects of a relationship is not easy, people often struggle with one aspect or other. Sometimes they get the chemistry right but mess up with physics and biology, and sometimes it's the other way around. There are no right or wrong formula, every couple has to come up with what works best for them. This required participation of both the partners, unilateral solutions rarely work. Also, this is a continuous and never-ending process, it continues as long as that relationship exists, and we need to tune the balance at every stage of life. This is always work in progress, but very important work. Please don't neglect it.

Thanks for reading and please share your opinion about this topic. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Find your own Everest and try to conquer it

Everest summit is a challenging expedition to anyone and under any known standards, it's not only dangerous, but also financially, mentally, and physically very demanding process. Everyone can't dream to attempt this adventure, one needs proper training and expertise to try this, and even after this, there is a no guarantee of success. This post is not know-how about how to climb Everest successfully, but it is about the fact that we all face some challenges in our lives which are as difficult and challenging for us individually. Sometimes these challenges are so tough that we can compare them with the Everest summit.

Is this comparison fair? I think it is. Everyone has their own Everest to climb, it doesn't have to be the Mount Everest for everyone, for someone it can be learning how to speak English, or how to drive, for someone it might be to switch profession or change jobs, for someone it might be to fight discrimination or some other things. Depending on the stage of our life and pour individual characteristics and circumstances things can be incredibly challenging to achieve. My advice is, find your own Everest and try to conquer it, it will take a lot of training, hard work, determination, and persistence, success may not be guaranteed, but that rewarding journey is worth all the effort. If you manage to finish the task, don't forget to celebrate the achievement, cherish the success, it is important to enjoy the journey as well as celebrate achievements. We often undermine our own struggles and triumphs. Not everyone wins the Olympic Gold, no doubt, that's a great achievement, but so is overcoming some individual hardship and conquering something which was considered unachievable for us. Also, remember that each individual's Everest is different, someone can speak English or Spanish easily doesn't mean it's easy for everyone, for someone it could be a dream of their life to master that language, for them that's their Everest, the ultimate goal to achieve, for someone it might be to learn how to drive, for someone it might be to fight against some disability. Find your challenge and pursue it, give it your blood, sweat, and tears, and then see how it feels when you achieve it. All the very best with your Everest Summit.

Thanks for reading and please share your opinion about this topic. 

Friday, March 29, 2019

Importance of healthy relationships in our lives

Humans are social animals. We prefer to live in groups, many of our oldest institutions like religion, marriage are the result of our need to have some sort of organized social and familial structure to live as a community. As a result of this communal need, we also believe in building and cultivating relationships. This is the reason we not only cherish and value our biological relationships but we equally care and value our social or non-biological relationships as well. The fact is that no matter what type of relationship it is, it takes time, effort, honesty, and sincerity to cultivate it and make it strong. Every relationship goes through ups and downs, there can be rough patches along with smooth sailings, but there are going to be variations, and during these ups and downs our patience, persistence, and sincerity are tested. 

Each and every relationship has to be a two-way exchange, one-sided relationships don't last long, and if they do, then one person gets exploited as another person has no contribution towards nurturing that relationship. I think we all need to pay special attention to our professional and personal relationships. Both of them occupy two major spheres of our lives, one is a personal and another one is a professional sphere, both are equally important. If we tilt the balance in the favor of one at the cost of another then the ignored part is going to hurt us. People might think why am I giving so much importance to professional relationships? After all, work is work how can it be so important? Actually, it is very important. Not only for your survival but also for a healthy and vibrant workplace where others feel comfortable and welcomed so that overall performance of the organization is enhanced, and not only we personally get benefitted, but society in large gets benefitted. 

Developing and maintaining a healthy relationship is hard work. It demands a lot of our time and effort, but if we look at the long term benefits of having strong bonds with people around us we won't complain about all the efforts we have to put to develop those bonds. My only suggestion is, no matter what type of relationship it is, biological or nonbiological give it a fair chance, participate wholeheartedly and honestly, keep things sorted and simple, don't make things complicated when they don't have to be. Enjoy the relationships don't feel burdened by it because when we enjoy things we don't care how tough they are or how much effort they take, be happy and try to make others happy. But remember, it is important to be happy first, then only you can make others happy.  Everyone needs companionship and support, and it is not that difficult to get it, just follow the right path. Relationships are important, so treat them with the respect and importance they command. A healthy relationship makes our journey of life more exciting, after all, we all are going to become a memory one day, make sure that you create a good one. 

Thanks for reading and please share your opinion about this topic. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Seven years...

Today is the seven anniversary of this blog. Seven amazing years of learning and sharing through this unique platform. The journey so far has been really rewarding for me and I value a lot what I learned in this process. Like any journey, there are ups and downs in this journey also, some mistakes made, many lessons learned. There is no doubt that this is helping me to become a better human being and I thank all readers for their help for making this possible, especially the ones who share their views in the comments section or via emails or on other social media platforms. 

It is true that the frequency of posts has reduced, but that's a natural consequence of many other things going on side by side. I don't intend to increase the frequency of posts but do plan to continue to write once in a while as new ideas come to my mind or if I find something worth sharing on this platform. Once again a big thank you to my all readers and please keep on sharing your views.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

You are the navigator of your wellness, take control of it

We all have a tendency to blame others for our problems and miseries. We conveniently chose a suitable target to blame, some of us blame it to our busy schedule for not finding any time for exercise, some blame it to stress for our various addictions, some blame it to the pressure to remain connected for our addiction to social media, some to family pressure, some to boss or job related stuff, and the list goes on like this incorporating a variety of reasons. Most of the time, we blame it on everything except ourselves for the problems we face, especially the problems related to our wellness. It gives us a false sense of belief that we are trying our best, but the situations and people around us are making it difficult, or there is something beyond our control which is responsible for the way we live and behave. But the truth is, we are the primary beneficiary of our wellness so we should be able to navigate it and manage it better than anyone else, and we should blame ourselves first if something is not right.

Wellness is a personal issue, others can definitely help but only the concerned person holds the key to start and restart the engine which drives it to do something and gives it a direction. Also, wellness requires some simple initial steps: healthy diet choices, regular physical activity (it doesn't have to be a gym or rigorous sports, one can choose from simple walking to competing for a marathon), regular sleep schedule, and stress management. I agree that drastic changes introduced in our lived due to tremendous technological development have made many of these things which were part of our regular lifestyle just a few decades ago extremely challenging, but this cannot be an excuse to compromise our health and wellness. The major benefit of improving our lifestyle choices could be felt in all aspects of our day to day lives. The extra strength and energy which we get could be used in doing things which we enjoy, staying disease free, and being healthy also allows us to help others if they need any help. These are just a few benefits among many which can be listed.

So, what's stopping you from taking control of your wellness? Remember, you are the prime beneficiary of your wellness, so think twice before blaming it on something else for your bad lifestyle choices. Take the responsibility and contribute towards having a healthy and happy society. 

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Be aware of your personal blind spots.

We are taught to be aware of the blind spot during driving lessons. In the normal course of driving, it's not easy to check what's there in the area of a blind spot, and depending on what it is it can be really dangerous for the driver or the thing which is in that area. Therefore, it is very important to make sure that we have some way to make sure that there is nothing in the blind spot area before we change our lanes or direction while driving. We try to use various techniques or different rearview mirrors to look for the vehicles and objects in the blind spot range to avoid accidents and to be safe. But we are not that careful to look for blind spots of our mind in our day to day lives which is equally important to avoid unnecessary clashes and terrible mistakes due to our ignorance and lack of knowledge.

Why we need to be aware that there are blind spots when we drive our thought process? Very simple, because then only we will take some efforts to eliminate them. If we are not aware of them, we are not going to take any efforts to overcome this problem, and then the problem will become chronic. Ignorance or lack of knowledge can be cured with learning and acquiring knowledge. In today's era, we have so many resources available literally at our fingertips. Yes, I am talking about the world of the internet, which we can access from our phones or any stationary or mobile device connected to the internet connection. The internet has created a level field by allowing access to variety of websites where you can learn about many things and gain useful information. One can access diverse resources to collect vast amount of information to learn about almost anything. We can self educate ourselves. Please spend some quality time to learn about the issues which affect you, about the things which you care about before getting into a debate with anyone. This will not only help you to get well informed but also help the next person to have a very informative and constructive discussion. Being well informed is also necessary for being a responsible citizen of any country. It helps to form a well informed public opinion. So, take the first step and start by taking some positive steps in a direction to eliminate the personal blind spots of your thinking. All the very best.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

Monday, December 24, 2018

The saga of RaGa

I think most people in India know what NaMo and RaGa mean, these are the brand names of the two of the most famous national political figures Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi. Unprecedented branding of political figures started in India with the rise of Mr. Narendra Modi. Mr. Modi and his team aggressively developed his brand just like any other product, this started during his tenure as a chief minister of Gujarat. When that strategy worked superbly, every party started doing the same thing, no one could match the fire and force of BJP for quite some time, but all are still trying and RaGa brand is Indian National Congress's answer to BJP's NaMo brand. 

Rahul Gandhi belongs to Nehru-Gandhi family, there is no doubt that one of the major reasons behind where he is today is the family to which he belongs. He himself recognizes it, acknowledges it and I don't think there is any doubt about the role his last name played in his political existence. But dynasty is not an uncommon thing, it is prevalent in many parts of the world and Indian is not an exception. It is common to see dynasties in Indian politics, business, or any other field where there is a scope to have a dynasty. In the Indian film industry, there are dynasties which are in their third or fourth generation, big corporations are run by families where top management consistently comes from the same family, Indian mythological stories are full of dynasties. It is difficult to ignore the presence of dynasties in various fields including India and politics or any political party. Dynasties are present in most political parties in India, their level and positions they occupy might be different in different parties, but they are there. This all is not to justify the rule of the dynasty, but to show that the Nehru-Gandhi family is not the only dynasty in India, but maybe it is the most famous one. I think Rahul got into politics out of compulsion rather than his own choice. His father, Late Rajiv Gandhi also got dragged into politics after the untimely death of his brother Sanjay and then the death of his mother Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Somehow the Indian National Congress feels the perpetual need of having someone from Nehru-Gandhi family at the helm. Somehow the party and its workers feel safe and secure under their leadership. Many senior leaders acknowledge this thing and they feel it keeps the party united. This reasoning never made any sense to me, but this is what it is. I am not going go into pros and cons of dynastic politics, this is not the subject of this post.

Rahul didn't have a conventional upbringing, his uncle, grandmother, and father all died unnatural deaths. Two of them (grandma and father) were assassinated brutally by terrorists. He was very young when his grandma and father was assassinated. His mother was forced to enter politics and then he has to follow her. In the beginning, he was not even considered as a viable option,  he was visibly uncomfortable during his political appearances. Congress party suffered humiliating loss after loss at the hands of BJP and other parties, and Rahul was projected as one of the reasons for these debacles. He was attacked for who he was (a Gandhi dynast), he was ridiculed as "Pappu," his lack of stage confidence, fumbles during interviews were highlighted, his comments were edited so that they sound utterly stupid, and it was unimaginable for people to even compare Mr. Modi and Rahul. But, somehow he survived all these attacks from outside. The main reason was that no one within his party asked for his resignation due to all those failures, this is the advantage one gets when your position within the party is secure, there was absolutely no challenge to his position within his own party. He became president of Congress party even though the party was not performing well in election after election. Recent victories in some state elections might justify his promotion and turn his party's fortunes in other direction, people might see him now as a national leader who can challenge Mr. Modi. But, this is too early to predict any such thing, and Rahul has a lot to prove before he can present himself as a serious contender for the prime minister's position. Actually, BJP helped him a lot by constantly attacking him and ridiculing him, they always kept him relevant for some reason, they used him as a punching bag and it seems that the punching bag punched them back really bad. The same way, Congress party helped Mr. Modi to get prominence on a national stage by attacking him relentlessly. I have no interest in judging Rahul's political acumen and capabilities. I was purely drawn to his story because of his unique background and his roller-coaster political journey. As I already mentioned there is no doubt that he got many privileges and advantages just because he was born in a particular family, but for the same reason, his life took many unexpected turns and presented him with unique challenges. It will be interesting to see his future progression. 

I had very high expectations from Mr. Modi's government. After all, BJP secured a single party majority under his leadership and this government had a golden opportunity to introduce some reforms which only a single-party majority government could implement in a country like India. However, instead of focusing on that he focussed all his attention towards conquering all states of India. Let's see how RaGa compares to NaMo as far as delivering reformative governance is concerned. I am happy to see that at least Rahul is not talking about eliminating BJP from India. The presence of a strong opposition is necessary for any democracy to be vibrant and functioning. I wish both brands RaGa and NaMo deliver what they claim, and people hold them accountable for their promises and not get blinded by their glitter and glamor. If this doesn't happen, then the same old musical chair circus will continue without much change in governance, RaGa and Namo brands might become successful, but brand India will fail and I don't think any right-minded Indian would like to see this happen.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Me Too - easy to mock, but difficult to understand

Sexual harassment is a serious issue, this is a widespread problem in each and every country around the world. It will be really naive to assume that it is more prevalent in developed countries where women participate more in the workforce compared to developing or undeveloped countries. Also, this problem is more prevalent than one can imagine. We underestimate it due to the fact that traditionally many behaviors were not recognized as harassing because for many centuries societies around the world ignored them or accepted them under some lame justifications like "boys will be boys."  Patriarchy and chauvinism not only sheltered such behavior but they also legitimized it and generations were raised believing that this was a part of social male-female interaction in a heavily male-dominated society.  Now, before anyone points it out, let me make it clear that this is not a gender-specific problem, men also get sexually harassed, but women are at the receiving end of this type of harassment in disproportionately high numbers and one can confirm this by checking the data.

When "Me Too" movement started and many women started openly talking about the sexual harassment they faced, societies got rattled. It was totally unexpected and not a very comfortable situation for them to see the elephant in the room being addressed so openly and directly. I am sure most of us knew that this problem existed but somehow we accepted it as a part of a day to day ordeal of being a man or a woman. Many famous and not-so-famous people got exposed for their predatory and harassing behavior, this is how it caught media's attention. "Me Too" movement became viral on the internet and was in the news all over the world. Now, like any other movement, there are people who will try to misuse it, but this problem is not unique with Me Too but that's the nature of our society; any law or popular movement is always misused by few people, and I don't think Me Too will be an exception. Misuse by few people cannot be a reason to question the legitimacy of any social transformation. But the way this movement got ridiculed from its start, especially in India was not a very good sign. I was tired to read so many messages on WhatsApp making fun of Me Too and questioning motives of women who chose to come forward with these allegations. The messages were so many that it was not easy to ignore them, for a few weeks it seemed like it became a favorite time pass on WhatsApp, especially for men. 

First of all, it takes immense courage to share any such thing publicly knowing that nothing might come out of this except ridicule, humiliation, and character assassination. Second, the kind of publicity you get after coming out is not always desirable, one can look at the way most of the victims were treated if anyone of us would like to be in that situation. And lastly, for all people who ask the question, why now? Why not when it happened? Please try to understand the vulnerability, social and personal situation of the victim before passing any judgments. Many harassment or discrimination incidents are exposed much later than the time when they actually happen. The main reason for this is that normally the victims are suppressed and not in a position to raise their voice when they face such incident, they fear serious repercussions for their personal and professional lives and prefer to keep quiet. Normally the victim and their harasser have disproportionately different professional standings and harassers take advantage of it. This is not their failure to report but as a society, it is our failure to provide them with an atmosphere where they feel comfortable in reporting such incidents. 

I just have one request, before being judgemental about any victim of any harassment or discrimination please try to understand their situation at the time the incident happened with them. If you can, I am sure you will be empathetic towards their plight and offer them all the support and help they need. At the same time, we must acknowledge that it is everyone's right to express their opinion, no matter what it is. No one should be penalized just for expressing their opinion no matter how offensive we might feel that opinion is. It is important to offer criticism whenever we see anyone misusing any movement or law, this is necessary to keep the legitimacy of such social movements intact. Mocking any social movement like Me Too without understanding it is very easy, the difficult part is to try to understand the intricacies of such movement and relate with the victim's plight. Now, the choice is yours.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Simple doesn't mean it's easy

Being a responsible citizen is simple; minding our own business and not interfering with others private matters is simple; being conscious of the difference between our needs and desires is simple; respecting each other is simple; not discriminating people based on their gender, race, or any other characteristic is simple, but many people struggle with these things. Being simple doesn't mean it's easy. There are many things which are straightforward and we all understand them clearly still we fail to follow them even if they can be really helpful for our and our society's own good. We ignore that fact that simple things also might require a lot of effort, dedication, and commitment to bring them in practice. This careless attitude is the reason for the fact that even after acknowledging the relevance and importance of many of above-mentioned things we fail to make them a habit.

Please recognize one truth, "simple doesn't mean it's easy," once we understand this our mind should be prepared to take all the necessary efforts with all seriousness to take all the necessary steps which are required to inculcate many of those "simple" habits in our day to day life. These things are simple because they are easy to do, you don't need any specialized degree or strenuous physical work to practice them, not because they are easy to achieve. They do require the presence of common sense, rational and balanced mind, and sincere efforts, if we lack any one of these or take them too casually we will be left wondering why and how we failed to learn such simple habits. 

First of all, why should we bother about such simple things? The answer is also very simple because those are the things which make our lives and lives of others around us better and happy. These simple things show we care for each other and respect in spite of so many differences among us. These things make happy and progressive societies where all individuals are respected and free to pursue their goals. So, the takeway from this post is, please don't take things lightly just because they look and sound simple, and please remember and acknowledge the fact that "simple doesn't mean easy."

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.