Increase Chances of Becoming a Donor (organs/ body)- Take Action Now!

Organ Donation LogoAugust 13, 2016 is being observed as the Organ Donation Day in India.

Briefly, one can donate tissues, organs and the whole body. Donations can take place under three circumstances:

  1. Donations when alive and conscious. Examples of these include blood, stem cells, bone marrow, kidney (only one), and segments of liver, pancreas, lung, or intestine, and are limited by what can be given without affecting the health of the donor.
  2. Donations when ‘brain dead.’ These include organs that can be transplanted such as heart, liver, pancreas, intestine, 2 kidneys, and 2 lungs. Tissues such as corneas, bone, skin, heart valves, tendons, and veins can also be used.
  3. Donations within a short time of typical death. Some organs/ tissues can be used for others, for example corneas harvested within a few hours after death can be used to give sight to someone. You can also donate any part of your body — like the brain — for research and use by the medical community. Finally you can donate your whole body to a medical college, usually to the anatomy department, so that students can study it and gain experience.

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Why is the CVV Number Printed on Credit Cards?

The CVV number is a 3 or 4 digit number (associated with a credit card) that is used for verification in case of Card Not Present (CNP) transactions. CVV stands for Card Verification Value and is also called Card Security Code (CSC), Card Verification Code (CVC), Verification code (V-code or V code), and Signature Panel Code (SPC).

Card CVV Number

CVV numbers are used to authenticate the card, as an additional security measure when the card is used in online transactions. It is like an ATM pin.

I am unable to understand why the CVV number is printed on the card, whereas the ATM pin is provided to the card holder separately.

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Recycle Greywater to Reduce Urban Water Needs

Some weeks ago, there was a buzz in our residential complex about having to set up “grey water” processing, because it may be made mandatory by the municipality. I got curious and started investigating the topic.

At the end of my study I was left wondering why it was not yet mandatory – grey water processing, when fully implemented, could reduce the water requirements in cities by 30-35%!!
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Choosing a Home Water Purifier in Bangalore, India

Water Purifiers
A few months ago, it was time to replace the water purifier at home. The present one was difficult to maintain – the model was discontinued and its replacement parts were no longer available.

We thought it would be a simple task of selecting from one of the popular brands (like Kent or Aquaguard).

Little did we know that it would become a whole big project that required deeper research and evaluation of many alternatives based on criteria. Our task was made easy by the details available at achawater.com – a comprehensive site that covers water purification in great depth.

Typical impurities that need to be removed

As the first step we had to figure out the possible impurities to be removed. Our water is supplied by the municipality in Bangalore (BWSSB).

Here is a list of possible impurities in this water.
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Why Does the Passport Number Change when Renewed?

Passports

Passports were earlier used as travel documents, to establish the holder’s country. With time, a passport has also increasingly become a proof of identity and address.

However, passports have an expiry date, and upon renewal, a new passport is issued with a new passport number. This is extremely inconvenient, as one now needs to remember the new passport number while filling travel documents (every time one enters and exits a country) and sometimes at other places in a foreign country. Additional mess can be created if the passport renewal date and travel dates are close to each other, or there are valid visas on the old passport (to which passport number is the visa attached? :=( ).

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Book: Headhunter by Michael Slade

Headhunter Cover Image

Title Headhunter
Author(s) Michael Slade
Initially Published In 1984
Publisher W H Allen & Co.
Formats Available Paperback, Hardcover

Headhunter is a murder mystery, a psychological thriller,  a whodunit and a horror story with plenty of details of police investigation procedures and methods. The novel is based in Vancouver, Canada in the 1980s and revolves around a set of grisly murders of young women, whose bodies are found headless. While the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is investigating, more victims are discovered. Graphic violence, traumatized bodies, and perverted sex are all depicted with powerful imagery in this extremely well-written book.

I have read Headhunter three times, and each time I am gripped by the narrative and held spellbound even though I knew the ending.

“This is, beyond all doubt, a real chiller!”

 Robert Bloch, author of Psycho

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Movie: Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983, Hindi, India)

Movie: Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983, Hindi, India)

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, a 1983 film produced by NFDC and directed by Kundan Shah, is a dark satire on the the unshakable corrupt ways of Indian politicians, bureaucrats, and the media. It is set in Mumbai and has a pretty simple and outwardly hilarious (sometimes infantile) narrative. Released in 1983, it was not very successful at the box office at that time. Eventually, this movie won many awards, and has achieved a cult status. It generally figures in most Top-100 movies lists of Indian/ Hindi movies.
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro - DVD Cover Image

Directed by Kundan Shah
Released in 1983
Genre Dark Satire, Comic Political Thriller
Cast
  • Naseeruddin Shah as photographer Vinod Chopra
  • Ravi Baswani as photographer Sudhir Mishra
  • Om Puri as builder Ahuja
  • Pankaj Kapoor as builder Tarneja
  • Satish Shah as city commissioner D’Mello
  • Bhakti Barve as newspaper editor Shobha Sen
Music by Vanraj Bhatia
Produced by National Film Development Corporation
Language Hindi
Length 2 hours 12 minutes

The Story

Vinod Chopra (Naseeruddin Shah) and Sudhir Mishra (Ravi Baswani) are young men starting off as professional photographers, who open a studio in a relatively upscale Bombay locality.

Struggling to get business, they fortunately get an assignment from the editor of an investigative journal Khabardar, Shobha Sen (Bhakti Barve). The assignment is to get evidence to expose a corrupt nexus between the city commissioner D’Mello (Satish Shah) and builder Tarneja (Pankaj Kapoor).

The fun starts when Vinod and Sudhir accidentally photograph a murder in action. The rest of the movie is an out-of-control, hilarious story, that sometimes feels like a skit, improvised by brilliant people in some kind of ‘zone’.
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Book: The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon

Speed of Dark Cover Image

Title The Speed of Dark
Author(s) Elizabeth Moon
Initially Published In 2002
Publisher Orbit Books
Formats Available Paperback, Kindle, Hardcover

The Speed of Dark is a near-future story about a young autistic man, Lou. Lou is computer analyst, who is also a good fencer. The novel is a combination of science fiction and a thriller, often narrated from the autistic man’s point of view.

“Every once in a while, you come across a book that is both an important literary achievement and a completely and utterly absorbing reading experience—a book with provocative ideas and an equally compelling story. Such a book is The Speed of Dark.”

Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

The main character in The Speed of Dark has been inspired by the author’s own autistic son.

The World

The Speed of Dark is a futuristic story, where the world has found treatments to manage the condition of autism. This treatment is administered in very early childhood.

In this scenario, autistic children born before the treatment was available try to live ‘normally’ with their condition, and also work hard to be useful members of the society.

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Movie: District 9 (2009, English)

Review of the science-fiction, action movie: District 9 (2009, English)

District 9 DVD Cover

Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Released in 2009
Genre Science FIction
Cast Sharlto Copley as Wikus van de Merwe
Music by Clinton Shorter
Produced by Peter Jackson, Carolynne Cunningham
Language English
Length 1 hour 52 mins

District 9 is a 2009 gritty, grimy, science fiction thriller placed in South Africa. Directed by Neill Blomkamp, the movie uses relatively unknown actors – Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, and David James and adapts a pseudo-documentary style (at least at the start). District 9 was inspired by events during the apartheid era in District Six, Cape Town. The film won many awards and nominations. With a relatively low budget of 30 million US$, it was a box office hit with a collection of over 210 million US$.

“Technically brilliant and emotionally wrenching, District 9 has action, imagination, and all the elements of a thoroughly entertaining science-fiction classic.”

– Rotten Tomatoes

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Don’t Just Sit: Stand, Walk, Move!

Many of us who work in offices sit for more than 8-10 hours a day. We sit for our breakfast, we sit during our commute, we sit for long stretches at our desks, we sit with our coffee/ tea during the breaks, we sit for our lunch, we sit in meetings, we sit on our way back home, we sit during dinner and watch TV while sitting. And many times we sit continuously for more than 2 hours without getting up.
Standing At Work

Being able to sit is also a status symbol that displays higher education and higher income / wealth. People who are more educated typically have jobs that require them to be on desks; richer people do not walk to bus stops and train stations, nor do they walk to shopping centers or coffee shops.

Over the last few years there has been a concerted movement in some countries (like Australia) to encourage people to sit for lesser time during the day, reduce continuous sitting, and increase time standing and moving. However, this movement has not yet picked up any steam in India.

Summary of the Findings

Prolonged sitting has been linked with multiple health concerns like obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood-sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. It also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Sitting more than 6 hours a day may be as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes every day.

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