Tuesday, May 17, 2005


In continuation of the last blog, here is something from Brazil. They call it MST: a movement of landless workers in Brazil. Economic status of Brazil is well known to people who are informed about the IMF sponsored global reform in economy. I am not adding any extra lines on that. I am not much aware of the political lines of MST. I just stumbled upon a photo feature on MST at the BBC site. It is worth spending few minutes over it. Happy surfing.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Leyla Zana

Majority of my educated friends are disinterested in politics. For them politics is a dirty business of personal grit, power and money. This is the opinion that is aired even by our media and well percolated in our young minds. However, this attitude only shows our total ignorance about our societies, its history and present developments. It is nothing but just the reflection of a life with our eyes closed and head dipped in the mud of our day-to-day living. We, who are fortunate enough to enjoy the best things of life, just forget the pain and humiliation that majority of the human race on earth are facing every day.

While surfing through the Internet, I tumbled upon some web pages on Kurd people and Leyla Zana. Leyla Zana, who transformed herself from a simple village girl into the voice of Kurdish struggle for independent identity. I know there must be lots of propaganda going there on her name. But one thing is true: it is not her hunger for power or money, but her desire to fight against oppression and humiliation that she and her family faced, dragged her in politics. Hundreds of men and women are fighting every day against such personal odds. They are fighting for their own identities, their culture, their nationality, and language. It is not just power politics; rather it’s the politics for survival as an independent human being. Do we care about it?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

3 cheers for Google:

Services provided by Google amaze me. They are really creative. I am using my Gmail account for almost 5 months now. Gmail is supposed to provide Contextual text advertisements. I have noticed such contextual advertisement in my mail pages. However, today I noticed something more interesting.

Usually, between our friends, we write mails in our vernacular, i.e Bengali. We use the English script to write Bengali terms in mails. In those mail pages, Gmail provide advertisements related to Bengali themes. It indicates that Google not only sniff our mail, but also can correlate words with dialects and languages. What an innovation!!! Keep it up Google.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Am drifting!!!

Do I suffer from OCD? That’s a funny question. Isn’t it? If I ask this question to Srini, he will definitely come up with few more questions to make a proper diagnosis. And them he will refer me to some one in the psychiatry department here in AIIMS. I don’t want to go through this entire ordeal.

For your kind information, the last time I visited a clinic, for my self, was 3 years back. That too for my sever tooth ache. I managed some SR here in dental, and thought that they are going to fix my problem. So on a painful morning I went to meet him. After juggling through the mass hysteria at the dental OPD, I managed to enter the clinic and say hello to my friend. He just referred me to a cute girl. Supposedly, a JR. She took a good look in side my mouth and said “too poor oral hygiene”. That’s all. Afterwards I never visited any clinic.

Let’s come back to OCD. When ever I lock a room, I definitely check it back at least twice. When ever am working late at night, I check the lab taps thrice or four times. Are they closed? Can you say these are symptoms of OCD? Now days, I check my mail box at least ten times a day. I open my publisher’s sites to check the status of my papers. At least thrice a day. I know my hairs are getting thinner and gray. But that does not mean that I have to check them out every time I stand in front of a mirror. Ha!!! Am doing all this. No; these are no way symptoms of OCD. Neither I find it glamorous to have some sort of psychological problem, nor do I want to label my self as insane to prove my intellectuality. I just have lots of time. It is the time to think incoherently; time to sleep endlessly; time to sip the rum. I want to drift this way unless I find a new nest. Then it will be hectic. I know.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

To be pure!

Does science believe in Cult? Definitely NO. But scientists do. And therefore the scientific notions are many a time driven by such dogmatic believes. I first faced the problem while writing the recent article that has got accepted in Immunology.

As I had wrote in the last blog, the first question that I asked was why every body missing the real point. The mistake that I was questioning, in the article, is quite obvious. Every body knows selection can be both positive and negative. So just looking for positive selection of mutations can not give a picture on antigenic selection of an antibody clone. But every one was just following the trend and churning out papers. Even Dr. Rath frankly told us that he had also thought that the method used by people is wrong. But no one was questioning it.

Let me give another example of this trend. It is really amazing to note the symmetry and organization of a living system. But how does such an organized structures emerge out of basic molecules? The questions regarding emergence of living from non-living has always intrigued scientists. Similarly, if such organized structure emerges spontaneously, then why does it break into pieces? And why does it replicate? (Remember, replication has a huge cost in terms of energy and material). These questions are still unanswered.

But I want to draw attentions to some related thing. Many a time biology teachers ask students to explain whether biological systems are in contradiction with second law of thermodynamics. They argue that life is an organized form of bio-molecules. So with organized structure there is loss of entropy. But the process is spontaneous. Does the whole thing fits in the second law of thermodynamics? Their expected answer is that the organism is loosing entropy but the environment is gaining it due to the metabolic process. Even one can find many long articles on this line. Now, for me, asking such a question is stupid. In our thermodynamics classes, we first learn about different types of systems and their definitions: open system, closed system and isolated system. And in simplest terms second law of thermodynamics states that when an internal constrain of an isolated system is removed the entropy of the system increases. And every one knows that all concepts of thermodynamics are actually based on isolated systems. Life is no way an isolated system. So kindly dont ask such a question.

But there is a long history behind such seemingly stupid question. Most probably it all started with Shrödinger. In his book, "what is life?", he wrote -"living systems seems to feed on negative entropy " (I don’t remember the exact line, rather just the gross meaning). But what is negative entropy? No one had heard about it before. No one had deduced it. Is it possible? It’s the beginning of a new era dealing with "negative entropy". So we developed the term negantropy. However such concepts have not been able to solve the problems related to living systems. Rather we realized strongly that classical thermodynamics is not going to help us much to deduce ‘life’. I think all these debates actually trickled down in diluted form to Biologists. And may be that’s the origin of such a question that a biology student still faces in there college viva.

I am writing all this words just for me. Just to remind me not to get trapped in the club of cults. Being a member of this society one is always at risk of loosing ones own thought process and just ending up as a follower of a leader. We really need some psychological aerobics every day to get out of it and to keep ones thoughts pure.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


Ultimately THE PAPER has got accepted in Immunology. I worked on it for last 2 years. It was rigorous experience. Doing calculations, reading a lot of diverse papers, writing codes, writing the article and repeated polishing of the draft. Then getting painful rejections. Opps!!

It all started in a very funny way. I applied for a poster presentation in a conference on mathematical biology in IIT Kanpur. They changed my category into an oral presentation. I was just dumb. What Am I going to talk? That was my first question. And then I started this work.
Then I hit another roadblock. After giving a preliminary shape to the work, I was wondering. I am challenging a silly mistake that has been repeated by scientists for almost in 200 papers. How could they do that? I must be missing something very important!!!

After checking and rechecking, we are at the simplest conclusion: scientists, just like any other human being, love to follow cults. Chang and Casali formulated the statistical method. It is easy to use. Every one started to use it without even bothering to check its correctness. Although Dunwalter challenged it, every one kept using it. It seems no body go through literatures thoroughly.

Working on this paper was a nice experience for other reasons too. I posted questions all over the Internet. Even I posted a SOS in our JU alumni yahoo groups. And the response was enormous. Even one Pittsburgh statistician advised me to have a teacher in statistics, as my basics are so poor. Yes, I know am badly in need of a teacher. Rather a mentor. Thanks to Tapan, he helped me a lot to understand the basics of the likelihood estimation. Dr. Rath from NII gave us the most important review of the article. And thanks to the referee who went thoroughly and made some beautiful corrections.

Phuuuu…we should celebrate now. Definitely with Bacardy.