Monthly Archives: December 2019

Happy New Year 2020

Hello My Wonderful Readers,

This post is to wish you all a very happy new year 2020. I hope the coming year will be a wonderful year for all of us. I hope this year will fulfill all your dreams and you get what you always wanted from life. We all know, life is full of ups and downs, what we can expect is that at least the coming year will not be harsh on us as the previous year.

We all celebrate the new day of the year hoping that the rest of the year will fall smoothly for us. I haven’t planned for tomorrow. Hoping to cook for the family and celebrating just at home, watching movie and playing with kids.

Let me know in the comment section as to how you plan to celebrate the first day of 2020. Once again I wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year 2020.

Thanks,

Namrata

Origin of Life on the Earth

Have you ever imagined, how life originated on the Earth? What came first, plants or animals, birds or insects, snakes or crocodiles? How oxygen came in the Earth’s atmosphere?

There is a proper sequence as to what came first, what happened first, what came first. Different scientists have different beliefs and hypothesis on a big question as to how life originated on the Earth. Some believe that life originated due to some supernatural activities that took place while others believe that life originated in simple forms that complexed with the time.

Some scientists believe that life just originated spontaneously from non living forms while others believe that life originated due to some chain of chemical reactions.

Our Earth is 4.54 billion years old. Life originated on the Earth approximately 3.77 billion years ago in water (perhaps ocean) in the form of microorganisms (most probably bacteria), followed by evolution of Cyanobacteria (Blue Green Algae) approximately 2.4 billion years ago.

Before going into details of new life evolved on the Earth, it is important to know the molecules required for any form of life to occur. For origin of life, three things are necessary-

1. Carbon

2. Water in liquid form

3. Source of Energy

After the birth of the Earth, the temperature was very high. This was due to the activities of comets and asteroids that continuously bombarded the Earth’s surface. It took approximately 1 billion years for the Earth’s environment to stabilize and life to originate.

In the beginning, the Earth’s atmosphere was rich in methane and it lacked oxygen. Thus, it wasn’t suitable to support life. Archaebacteria (a type of primitive bacteria) that can grow in methane rich environment, appeared first.

It was the evolution of blue green algae that transformed the whole scenario. Cyanobacteria are the microorganism that use sunlight and water to produce oxygen. Cyanobacteria were the first photo-synthesizers that changed the Earth’s atmosphere.

Due to rise in the concentration of oxygen in the environment, it became uncomfortable for certain microorganisms such as archaebacteria to survive. Also the oxygen produced by Cyanobacteria was not enough to support the growth and evolution of other life forms. It was because Cyanobacteria also died and decomposed reducing the oxygen level.

So, by now we understand that archaebacteria came first followed by Cyanobacteria. Now the question arises when did true form of bacteria and the complex organisms evolved. There are theories that suggest that due to mutation in the simple cells and natural selection when the true bacteria (eubacteria) emerged. The microorganisms that we’re lucky, survived the mutation and rapid evolution took place.

It is believed that the first multicellular organism emerged 1.2 billion years ago due to complexity, climate change, increase in the level of oxygen.

Great oxidation reactions event took place 800 million years ago that increased the level of oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere

Later about 475 million years ago plants evolved from algae and moved on land.

The oldest animal fossil was recently found in Australia that dated 650 million years ago. The fossil looked similar to the sponges. in this way simpler animals came to life followed by complex animals. With the time and favorable atmospheric conditions more animals evolves, some of them got extinct while others are still there.

The figure above shows the timeline of events that took place on the Earth and what living organisms appeared when. The figure gives an idea about the whole topic. I hope it would help to understand how life originated on the Earth.

This is the Right Time

We often hear from people saying “This is not the right time. Wait for the right time to come.” sometimes they are right but not always. Sometimes it’s good to be patient and wait for the right time to come. But if this is done always, it’s not good. If we keep waiting for the right time, that right time will never come.

It is we who can convert this time into the right time because right time is never going to come. This is the right time if we understand it. We keep planning for the future.

If we are really passionate about doing anything then we should not wait for the right time but we should make this time as the right time.

You want to lose weight, start exercising today itself. Don’t plan to start from tomorrow.

You have to study for your exams, start studying immediately. Don’t wait for the right time to come.

You want to apologize to someone and you are over stressed, talk to that person right now. Don’t wait for tomorrow morning.

You want to learn something new but you are a mother of two and you are waiting for the kids to grow up a little so that you can have time for yourself. Trust me, you will never get that free time. You have to begin from today as tomorrow never comes.

You have to start today with what you have today. Do not wait for things to change in life. Patience is good but it should be used for other things.

We have got one life. We can make the best or worst out of it. It all depends on us.

I hope you all are having the best time. Wish you all loads of luck for starting anything new that you are longing for.

Stay Blessed and Stay Happy

Random Clicks: Birds

Hello Readers,

I have started a new series of random clicks and will share few clicks from my phone’s camera. I am not a pro photographer, just a beginner.

Birds and flowers are my love objects when it comes to photography. I like capturing beautiful scenery, flowers, water, birds, lake, etc.

Here are few of my clicks.

This is just a beginning. I will try improving and get some closure looks. Hope you enjoyed this post.

Stay Happy and Stay Blessed,

Happy Holidays.

Merry Christmas

On this Christmas 🎄 eve, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas 🎄 and a Happy New Year.

May this Christmas bring lots of blessings in our lives. May we live peacefully this year. May the Lord be merciful for the sins we did. May the good God bless us with fortune and good health.

Christmas is not all about asking gifts 🎁 from Santa 🎅 but it’s about giving gifts to others like a Santa.

Do you believe in the magic of Christmas? Have you ever experienced the magic of Christmas?

As we come closer to Christmas Day, the magic can be felt in the surroundings. Houses decorated with bulbs and bright lights. Christmas trees 🎄 bright colourful lights and decorations in the shopping malls, buildings, schools, offices and where not can be noticed.

The real magic is in being a Santa in someone’s life. Be a Santa and spread happiness and joy. Today, the real gift that we can give anyone is love. Spread love, spread positivity.

What promises can we make today for a better tomorrow?

We should be thankful for what we have. We should be grateful to the God. We should be obliged to our elders. We should express our love to whom we love.

Air Quality Index

Since I have talked so much about air pollution in my previous posts, its my duty to introduce a term to you all that it “Air Quality Index” or AQI. Now, some of you might be aware of it or might have heard about it somewhere. Today I am going to elaborate this term.

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What is Air Quality?

Air quality refers to the quality of air that we breathe on daily basis. Air quality is important because it is the air, we breathe in. It is important to measure the local air quality on hourly basis.  

What do you think is the air quality at your location?

What is Air Quality Index?

Air Quality Index is an index that reports the daily air quality. It is abbreviated as AQI. AQI tells us about the quality of air where we live. It tells us whether the air is healthy or unhealthy. It also tells us about the health effects associated with the quality of air.

The U.S. Environmental Pollution Agency (EPA) measures AQI to know about the air quality and to take steps if the quality is not up to the mark.

AQI is based on five of the major air pollutants such as ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. Each of these air pollutants are measured at each monitoring site.

In different countries, AQI is known by different names so don’t get confused. In Canada AQI is known as Air Quality Health Index. In Singapore, it is known as Air Pollution Index. In Malaysia, AQI is called as Pollutant Standards Index.

How is AQI Calculated?

AQI is calculated in the range of 0 to 500. Lower the index, better is the air quality and vice versa. AQI values are represented as good, moderate, unhealthy, very unhealthy and hazardous depending upon the values obtained. For each level, a color code is provided to represent the risk levels of the air quality.

Let me make this clear, suppose the place where you live has the AQI value of 59, it means that the air quality of that place is moderate and yellow color is used to symbolize that place. As the AQI value goes on increasing, the quality of air decreases. 500 is the highest value for AQI and beyond that AQI values are not measured.

You can understand this more clearly by the figure given below.

If you want, you can also get the AQI levels for the five major air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, ozone and sulfur dioxide. In the picture shown below, the AQI values of particulate matter (also referred as particulate pollution) is given with the color code and health effects.

In India, the National Air Quality Index was launched in 2014. For AQI. Continuous monitoring systems have been installed in New Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad and Pune.

In India, AQI are proposed on eight pollutants such as particulate pollution (PM 10 and PM 2.5), nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, ammonia and lead and categorized as good (0-50), satisfactory (51-100), moderately polluted (101-200), poor (201-300), very poor (301-400) and severe (401-500).

https://www.waqi.info/  is a website where you can see the AQI levels of different countries. It provides the Real Time AQI of all the places on the earth. When you go through the website, the homepage appears like this.

When you scroll through the page, you will get the exact Air Quality Index value of a place. For example, look at the image shown below:

In this way you can see the AQI levels of any part of the world. If you want to calculate the AQI levels of your city or state or country, just type in the name in the space provided in this website and you can see the data. Isn’t this website interesting?

AQI is a vast and interesting topic. I tried to simplify this topic and put the best out of it. I am hoping this article will be helpful to you in knowing about a new topic today. Click on your country, state and city and know about the air quality at the place you are living. This will give you an idea about the quality of air you are breathing.

Why Sugars are Irresistible?

Each one of us have someone in the family, friends or relatives that have cravings for sugar and sugary foods such as chocolates, candies, cakes, pastries, donuts, jams and jellies.

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In this post I am going to explain, why sugary foods are so tempting. Why some people crave for sugars? What happens when we eat a cookie or a candy? Let’s find it out.

Before going into detail lets understand what is sugar? Sugar is a carbohydrate (made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen) found in almost all types of food. Lactose, glucose, fructose, sucrose are examples of sugars. Sugar is present in the milk we drink, the rice we eat, the fruits and vegetables we consume. We cannot ignore carbohydrates and are important for the body to maintain its proper functioning. Then why sugars are considered so bad?

We need to understand this. Not all sugars are bad. Fructose found in fruits, lactose found in milk and glucose found in starchy food are healthy forms of sugar. Any complex sugar or carbohydrates are broken down to simpler form known as glucose that act as a fuel in the body and is carried in the blood from one place to another. Sugar is not bad. The natural sugar present in the food is healthy if eaten in right amount whereas the processed white sugar that we add in any food ruins the nutritive quality of the food.

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Importance of Glucose to the Brain

For a proper functioning of a human body, brain should be active and fully fueled with blood and energy. Do you know which form of carbohydrate does brain use to derive its energy? Its glucose. The primary source of energy to brain is glucose that is carried through blood inside the body. More than half of the glucose present in the body is utilized by the brain for energy production. The functioning of brain such as memory, learning, thinking, etc are determined by the glucose levels in the body. So, for the proper functioning of human brain, glucose is crucial.

Vera Novak, an HMS associate professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center said that “The brain is dependent on sugar as its main fuel.”

As it is said, excess of everything is bad, same goes with sugar too, excess of sugar or glucose is not good for the body. What happens when brain is exposed to excessive sugar? How does it react to excess amount of glucose?

Sugar is too much addictive in nature. It acts as a drug that increases the cravings in the body. Some people tend to crave for sugar after eating a small portion of a sugary food. Scientists have shown that sometimes sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Sounds strange but it’s true.  

What Happens When We Eat Sugary Food?

When we eat a sugary food, the taste buds present in our tongue sends a signal to the brain that activates a region in the brain. This region, known as cerebral cortex present in the forebrain part of the brain receives the signal sent by the tongue senses the food as sweet and activates a reward system. This initiates the craving. The reward system sends signal for more sugary food.

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Now the question arises, what is a reward system? Reward system is a series of signals (electrical and chemical) that activates the increased production of dopamine molecule. The food substances that are addictive in nature causes production of more dopamine.

Activation of reward system is not always bad but excessive activation is. Reward system is a complex system that causes activation of many reactions. Excessive activation of reward system leads to cravings and other psychological effects.

Image result for dopamine
Picture Curtsey: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nihgov/29817401553

On the other hand, when we eat too much of sugary food, the sugar receptors present in the gut send signals to the brain that no more glucose is required in the body as the stomach is full. It also signals brain to produce more insulin to consume the glucose.

How Excess Sugar Affects Brain?

Excess sugar is not good for our brain too. Scientists suggest that excess sugar interferes with the chemicals of brain. Added sugar in the food reduces the chemical production by the brain known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is important for learning new activities and creating new memories. Researches also indicate the connection between BDNF and diabetes. It is found that people with diabetes or pre-diabetes have low levels of BDNF.

Now we know why sugar is so addictive and why some people have cravings for sugary food. We also know that glucose is essential for the proper functioning of brain. Researches clearly prove the harmful effect of added sugars. The choice of food totally depends on us. What we feed ourselves is what we become. Eating healthy should not be an option but a compulsion. Eating freshly prepared home food is better than processed food. Cravings for sugar can be stopped by eating a small fruit as a quick and healthy snack.

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Choose wisely and live healthy.

Self Realization

I was just reading a blog and come across this term “self realization”. I was confused. What is self realization? The first thing I did, that I usually do, is searched for the meaning of this word. Here’s what I found, the dictionary meaning of self realization.

So, I got the meaning it’s “fulfillment of one’s own potential”. Now, have I understood what’s the dictionary means by self realization? What do you think?

No, I haven’t understood anything. What does one’s own potential mean? And how will I know whether I have fulfilled my potential. I am no where judging what Oxford dictionary is stating. I just want to say that I couldn’t understand it. Simple.

According to my thinking or as far as I can think self realization is to realize what we are and what is our potential.

I don’t think it’s an easy task. It’s not easy to understand our potential and then act accordingly. Self realization differentiates a successful person from others. One who realizes his/her potential succeeds in life and the one who can’t lag behind. Here success is no where related with financial success. Here success means in finding inner happiness and satisfaction.

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But nobody knows when will this self realization take place. At what phase of life will I realize my potential? Some people realize their potential when they are dealing with hardships or are at the worst phase of their lives. Some people realize their selfs when they are in their mid 20s while others realize after their retirement.

“The deeper the Self-realization of a man, the more he influences the whole universe by his subtle spiritual vibrations, and the less he himself is affected by the phenomenal flux.”

—-Paramahansa Yogananda

How does Hinduism describe Self-Realization?

After getting the meaning from the dictionary and playing with words to describe the ten more, now is the time to know what my religion has to say about this word. So, in Hinduism self realization is linked to self awareness, finding oneself. Finding your true being and not your ego is self realization. In Hindi language it’s called as “atma-jnana or atmabodh”.

Atma means Self and Jnana or Bodh means Knowledge. In short, self realization is knowledge of self. In Hinduism “self” “atma” is considered a pure soul that resides within a body. Realization of that self is a process and a blessing. It also connects self realization to God.

“Self-realization is, in fact, the only religion. For it is the true purpose of religion, no matter how people define their beliefs.”

——Paramahansa Yogananda

How Can I Attain Self realization?

This is my next question. How to attain self realization? How to find what truly I am?

Truly speaking, I don’t have an answer for this because I haven’t realised who truly I am. This I need to find out. I can’t write on anything that I haven’t attained myself.

First I need to find myself. I hope I will be able to that. I hope you all are not in the same dilemma in which I am today. I hope you all know who you truly are. If not, then we will explore ourselves together. We still have time to attain self realization.

With this positive note I would like to sign off for today. Wishing you all a happy Sunday.

Outdoor and Indoor Air Pollution

Air pollution is a topic of concern these days. Air pollution is everywhere both indoors and outdoors. Air pollutants have deteriorated the ambient air quality. I have explained about Air Pollution in details in my previous post. The sources of air pollution is explained in another post. The types of air pollution has also been explained in my post.

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Another way to classify air pollution can be based on whether the air pollutants where present in the indoors or outdoors. Depending on this air pollution can be of two types:

  1. Outdoor Air Pollution
  2. Indoor Air Pollution

I am going to explain these topics in this post.

Outdoor Air Pollution: It is a type of air pollution that involves the particulate matters and other air pollutants outside a built environment such as on the streets, in our environment where construction work is going on and in parks and playgrounds.

Outdoor Air Pollutants include noxious gases emitted from automobiles and vehicles, gases released from burning fuels, particulate matters released at construction sites, ozone and tobacco smoke.

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WHO stated that outdoor air pollution is a serious environmental problem around the globe. According to a report published in WHO website, in 2016 outdoor air pollution was the cause of 4.2 million premature deaths on global scale. The major culprit behind this mortality is particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5). PM2.5 means the small particles that are of 2.5-micron diameter or less. These particulate matters are harmful if they enter human body causing respiratory diseases and even cancer. Outdoor air pollution is measured in terms of air quality index (AQI).

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Indoor Air Pollution: It is the air pollution that involves particulate matters and other gaseous pollutants present inside a closed environment such as in rooms, houses, apartments, schools. hotels, hospitals, restaurants, theater, etc.    

Indoor Air Pollutants include dust particles in houses, fur and other animal particles in houses having furry pets, tobacco smoke, smoke from fireplaces and chimneys, carbon dioxide released by people residing in the house, smell of paints and particles of asbestos, etc.

Indoor air pollution is also deleterious to human health. According to a report published on WHO website, people who cook food or even heat their homes by burning biomass fuels are at health risk. Burning biomass fuel and coal in a closed environment leads to premature deaths. This is also referred as household air pollution and sometimes also contributes to outdoor air pollution when smokes and particulate matter escape through open doors and windows. Household air pollution is a major cause of air pollution in low-income countries.

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Sometimes the indoor air is more polluted than the outdoor air. This happens where there are less air circulation and people live in confined spaces with poor cross ventilation. In such places the air circulation is restricted, and the air enclosed inside the house cannot come outside. Too little outside air causes accumulation of indoor air pollutants and reduce the indoor air quality. This leads to Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a disease where people experience ill health effects due to the indoor air pollutants and the symptoms vanishes if the affected person leaves the affected building or house. Wargocki and his colleagues in 2000 reported that good ventilation improves air circulation inside the building thereby reducing the SBS improving the indoor air quality. Thus, we should have proper ventilated houses that allow outside air to enter the house and vice versa.  

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It is shocking but sometimes indoor air pollution is dangerous than outdoor air pollution. According to the California Air Resources Board, indoor air pollutants is 25-62% more than the outside air pollutants and can be detrimental. The quality of indoor air is also associated with the performance of workers and people residing in that building. Wyon in 2004 found that removing the air pollutants from the office can improve the work efficiency of people working there.

The indoor and outdoor air pollution are related to each other. Scientists suggest that the quality of indoor air is largely affected by the outdoor environments. For example, if there is a construction site near a house, then the indoor air will have particles from that construction site too.

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Cigarette smoking is detrimental to health in both indoor and outdoor environments. Smoking should be restricted inside the house and at public places to reduce air pollution.

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Whether it is indoor air pollution or outdoor air pollution, air pollution is detrimental to human health. Air pollution causes respiratory diseases and other health related issues. Ambient indoor air quality is important for the well being of people residing there.

Preventive measures are taken by regulatory bodies and government agencies to regulate air pollution. Policies have been made by government agencies of different countries to control air pollution. Man-made activities should be controlled to regulate air pollution.

Air pollution is a huge topic. I will try to include one sub topic at a time. I hope this post will be informational to you.

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Stay Happy Stay Blessed

Inspirational Quotations

I was just surfing on internet and found some inspirational quotations that took away my heart. I don’t know why but these quotes really inspired me. It gives the punch of being what we are and why we are. Inspirational quotes keeps us motivated when we are feeling low, when we are tired and when we want to give up.

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This quote only talks about you. It talks about you being brave, strong, smart and beautiful. Even if you are feeling low you will start feeling good. It tries to bring the stronger and smarter part of you.

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This quote is so simple and sleek. It says just two words “Be Positive”, that’s it. Being positive is a good thing. It removes negative people and negative thoughts from our life.

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This is damn correct. You are special and one. Nobody can replace you. You are what you are. Take care of yourself and never compare yourself to anyone.

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This quote if you see as the first thing in the morning, it will boost your mood and will make your day. It will help you to stay positive throughout the day.

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Your read it and you smile. One of my posts was dedicated solely to smile and its advantages. So, this is one of them and I like it.

These are five quotes that I found interesting and inspirational. I hope these quotes also prove inspirational to you.

Stay Happy and Stay Blessed.

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