Monday, July 13, 2015


"Basic helix-loop-helix family, member e41", or BHLHE41, is a gene that encodes, as the name implies, a basic helix-loop-helix protein in various tissues of both humans and mice. It also known as DEC2, hDEC2, and SHARP1, and was previously known as "basic helix-loop-helix domain containing, class B, 3", or BHLHB3. Defects in this gene are associated with the short sleep phenotype. A particular genetic variation in the gene affects sleep duration in humans, and introduction of the human gene into mice also reduces their sleep requirements. This genetic variation was discovered by Ying-Hui Fu's lab.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Smarter Way to Shop for Eggs

Shopping for eggs? Better bring a glossary. Egg makers are slapping all manner of industry terms on their cartons, some of them meaningful, some of them not. Glossary of egg carton terms:

The color of the shell is simply that: a color. Different breeds of hens lay different colored eggs, most commonly white or brown but also blue, green, or speckled. Shell color isn’t an indicator of health or flavor or quality—but brown eggs are a lot better for Instagram.

Eggs are graded according to USDA guidelines. Grade AA and Grade A are practically interchangeable—they indicate eggs that have thick whites, yolks that are free from defects, and clean shells. Grade B is noticeably different: the whites are thin and the shells are blemished. You’ll find Grade A eggs at the grocery store; Grade B is typically reserved for industrial use.

USDA size standards range from peewee (yes, that’s an actual term) to jumbo. Most recipes call for large eggs, which is good, because that’s what most grocery stores carry. (Peewees, which are the size of quail eggs, are almost impossible to find). Large eggs weigh about 2 ounces and contain approximately 3 1/4 tablespoons of liquid; extra large eggs weigh about 2.25 ounces and have about 4 tablespoons of liquid. Thus, if a recipe only calls for one or two eggs, you can use the two interchangeably with no serious consequences. (Got a recipe that calls for more than two eggs? Start measuring.)

This term isn’t regulated by an agency, so anyone can slap it on their carton and it can mean pretty much whatever the producer wants—there are no standards when it comes to feed, living conditions, or use of antibiotics. In other words, this means nothing. Ignore this.

This means that the chickens were fed a strictly vegetarian diet, which is made up of mostly corn and soybeans. However, this label also suggests that the chickens weren’t allowed to spend any time outside, where they would feed on non-vegetarian grub like worms and other little bugs.

Free-range means the chickens are not caged and have some access to the outdoors—though there’s no way of knowing if the chickens actually go outside and if they do, for how long. Cage-free simply means the hens are not caged, but they remain indoors. However, there’s no regulation regarding how much space cage-free chickens actually get.

This is the only label that is issued by the USDA. To earn it, eggs must come from free-range chickens that are fed an organic, vegetarian diet.

A regular egg has about 30mg of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acid, while an egg with this label is fed a diet enriched with fish oil and flaxseed to have an even higher amount. How much higher? The egg producers aren’t required to say, so you’ll never know.

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Friday, December 19, 2014


GSLV Mk-III Lift Off - Sriharikota

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Work Out As You Will

Swimming is the best exercise. No, wait, walking is. Hmm, how about yoga? That’s good and safe for everyone, right? So what’s the official word on that? Just like there’s no ‘right man/ ideal woman’ to get married to, it changes in each phase of our life, there is no ‘best’ exercise. But, unlike relationships, with exercise, you have the option of moving from one to another without a sense of guilt or betrayal. The ‘best’ exercise is one that engages you physically, mentally, emotionally, and on levels even deeper than that. It is something that you look forward to on a daily basis, it is the reason you eat dinner on time, it is the reason you hit the bed early. It is the reason you wake up even before your alarm goes off. It makes you feel beautiful inside out, it keeps you young, makes you smile, fall in love with yourself all over again. Yes, the ‘right’ exercise has that magical effect on all of us, it can calm our nerves, sharpen our memory, erase those worry lines, flatten that bulge under the eye and over the stomach and make you light and contented like a happy child. It is up to us to seek the ‘right’ exercise, because there are no set rules on how to keep the body in top shape. Information so authoritatively dispensed by various newspapers and tabloids, or at a bout of party gossip, can’t rule our heads or heart when it comes to making decisions about our workout. Some of us will find it in yoga, some of us in running, some find it in pumping iron and others while biking at dawn. The question is, are you searching?

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Tuesday, April 03, 2012


Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and by poor emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction. Diagnosis is based on observed behavior and the patient's reported experiences. A person diagnosed with schizophrenia may experience hallucinations (most reported are hearing voices), delusions (often bizarre or persecutory in nature), and disorganized thinking and speech. The latter may range from loss of train of thought, to sentences only loosely connected in meaning, to incoherence known as word salad in severe cases. Social withdrawal, sloppiness of dress and hygiene, and loss of motivation and judgment are all common in schizophrenia. There is often an observable pattern of emotional difficulty, for example blunted affect. Impairment in social cognition is associated with schizophrenia, as are symptoms of paranoia; social isolation commonly occurs. In one uncommon subtype, the person may be largely mute, remain motionless in bizarre postures, or exhibit purposeless agitation, all signs of catatonia.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a condition in which people go back and forth between periods of a very good or irritable mood and depression. The "mood swings" between mania and depression can be very quick. Bipolar disorder or manic–depressive disorder, also referred to as bipolar affective disorder or manic depression, is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and mood with or without one or more depressive episodes. The elevated moods are clinically referred to as mania or, if milder, hypomania. Individuals who experience manic episodes also commonly experience depressive episodes, or symptoms, or a mixed state in which features of both mania and depression are present at the same time. These events are usually separated by periods of "normal" mood; but, in some individuals, depression and mania may rapidly alternate, which is known as rapid cycling. Extreme manic episodes can sometimes lead to such psychotic symptoms as delusions and hallucinations. The disorder has been subdivided into bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymia, and other types, based on the nature and severity of mood episodes experienced; the range is often described as the bipolar spectrum.

Estimates of the lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder vary, with studies typically giving values of the order of 1%, with higher figures given in studies with looser definitions of the condition. The onset of full symptoms generally occurs in late adolescence or young adulthood. Diagnosis is based on the person's self-reported experiences, as well as observed behavior. Episodes of abnormality are associated with distress and disruption and an elevated risk of suicide, especially during depressive episodes. In some cases, it can be a devastating long-lasting disorder. In others, it has also been associated with creativity, goal striving, and positive achievements. There is significant evidence to suggest that many people with creative talents have also suffered from some form of bipolar disorder. It is often suggested that creativity and bipolar disorder are linked.

Genetic factors contribute substantially to the likelihood of developing bipolar disorder, and environmental factors are also implicated. Bipolar disorder is often treated with mood stabilizing medications and, sometimes, other psychiatric drugs. Psychotherapy also has a role, often when there has been some recovery of the subject's stability. In serious cases, in which there is a risk of harm to oneself or others, involuntary commitment may be used. These cases generally involve severe manic episodes with dangerous behavior or depressive episodes with suicidal ideation. There are widespread problems with social stigma, stereotypes, and prejudice against individuals with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder exhibiting psychotic symptoms can sometimes be misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia, another serious mental illness.

The current term bipolar disorder is of fairly recent origin and refers to the cycling between high and low episodes (poles). A relationship between mania and melancholia had long been observed, although the basis of the current conceptualisation can be traced back to French psychiatrists in the 1850s. The term "manic-depressive illness" or psychosis was coined by German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin in the late nineteenth century, originally referring to all kinds of mood disorder. German psychiatrist Karl Leonhard split the classification again in 1957, employing the terms unipolar disorder (major depressive disorder) and bipolar disorder.

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Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Millionaire Mindset

There are key differences between the way rich people look at money and the way the rest of us do:

•Wealthy people look at money in positive terms and as an opportunity, where as most of us live in fear of being laid off or not having enough money for retirement.
•Instead of worrying about running out of money, soon to be millionaires are thinking how to make more money. World-class performers are finding problems that are profitable to solve. They know that just because a solution hasn't been discovered yet doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
•Millionaires tend to move towards what they want, rather than move away from what they don't want, which is what the masses most often do.
•World-class thinkers have the guts to be optimistic right now in these shaky times and reject the middle-class cynicism that plagues the masses. It's not comfortable for a millionaire in the making to forge ahead when everyone around him or her is negative, cynical and unsupportive, yet the great ones push forward and are rewarded with riches for the rest of their lives.

Bottom line: "Take inventory of your consciousness and the way you think about money and ask yourself: Is this the way a rich person thinks or someone in the middle class thinks about money?"

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