Saturday, March 28, 2009

What does OK stand for?

OK = oll korrect
Learned about the origin of OK on the radio.
Read more about it here

Friday, March 13, 2009

Blue Jays and Robins

Spring is near. This morning, there was a congregation of robins singing in the woods beyond my studio apartment. I watched as they flew excitedly from one tree to another chasing each other or just hopping around from branch to branch. There were atleast a 100 orange breasted birds and also a blue jay. I was left wondering, what was a blue jay doing with these robins? Don't birds of a feather flock together? So I looked for clues online and I now have a story of my own.

This article by Ann Hingas speaks about blue jays being raiders of other birds' nests. They are known to especially like the nests of robins and take them up for nesting. So my theory is that a blue jay left her egg in a robin's nest. And the robin later returned to the nest, hatched the egg, and continued to look after the blue jay as her own, possibly, along with her own baby robins. Now the blue jay lives as a robin and migrates along with this flock, stopping once in while at some woods in Baltimore.

Well, I know its a long shot. You could have many reasons to disapprove of my theory. Quite a silly discussion but I learned something about blue jays today and won't forget it because of this story. And wouldn't it be awesome, if the robins did not judge the blue jay for having a different color?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shape shifting material

Caught this on CNN, coincidentally on the morning after I watched Transformers. Researchers at Intel have collaborated with Academia to invent shape changing material or programmable matter.

Intel's Andrew Chien says that someday we will be able to morph objects to fit our needs. Check out the video.

Too bizarre for Zimmern

This evening, I caught Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods in Delhi on the Travel channel. The guy eats everything under the sun- strange animals, all sorts of body parts- brain, eyes etc. don't want to go into the details. Anyway, he refused to eat Pani Puri that was being sold by the hawkers in Delhi!

He said not drinking water in such countries is what keeps him safe. Even though I know he would probably get terribly sick if he did eat it, I can't get over the fact that a guy who eats unbelievably bizarre stuff was beaten by Pani Puri. Can't wait to see Tony defy Zimmern's reservations by trying Pani Puri.

Even so, recently I have been enjoying Zimmern's shows. Especially the one on Bolivia- the women wrestlers were a sight. Also, the other stuff in the episode on Delhi - the Bengali food with banana flower and stem, the Kashmiri food (thirty-six-course traditional Wazwan meal which he had with Rohit Bal), and the Gurudwa Bangla Sahib were all quite intriguing.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Memorable retreat moments

Last weekend, I went with the the PROMISE group to a fantastic retreat and outward bound experience at the Rocky Gap state park in Western Maryland. This is the post I put up on the PROMISE blog.

The PROMISE retreat was an amazing experience for me- awesome new friends, the great outdoors, and time for introspection. Quick countdown of my most memorable moments of this weekend.

1. The hilarious and most interesting introductions in the ballroom on Friday evening. I thought it was a great idea to not give us name tags and have us learn names. Initially, all I could remember was the interesting bit of information people added to their introductions but soon I got to know their names.

2. Taboo!! It got us all together. We could forget about our grad school worries while we immersed ourselves in the game.
3. At the fire station. (I already shared this at the retreat) Denise Ashman said something that I will take along with me into my everyday life. When I couldn't get a fire started, I was upset. Denise mentioned how some times there are things greater than we are. Like fire, that has been around much longer than we have. So when we try our best and things don't work out, we should be humble and accept it. I am going to remember this when my research experiments fail and instead of getting angry with myself and feeling dejected, I will accept the situation, humbly and keep trying.
4. Olympic moment at the water station. Daryl asked each of us about our Olympic moment- a moment in our lives when we achieved something for ourselves. It was a great question- we got to hear about every ones special moments and it made me realize what mine was.

5. The team building experience with the Polar Bears at the Shelter station. It was empowering to see that we could build a shelter together out of twigs, and leaves. Also, later on when we were asked to think about our team dynamics, I realized how wonderfully we worked together and how much I learned from the experience. I now know where I fit in a team situation and what I need to work on. It was an eye opening experience for me.

6. The skits were so creative- I don't think any of us will forget any of the air crashes, the girl rabbit, and poor Sanjit who caught on 'fire' (the fire act was hilarious) and was eaten by the polar bear.

7. The campfire- the campers, the marshmallows catching fire, sticks without marshmallows poking the fire, and songs in different languages.

8. Word Blur- in the game room :D
9. Hike in the snow. Newly equipped with outdoor survival skills, five of us set out for a walk to the dam and bridge on the other side of the Lake.

10. And last all the amazing new friends. They share the same graduate life I do, with its highs and lows. It was great meeting them all and I hope we keep in touch.

A very huge thank you to the PROMISE team for organizing this special weekend. I hope this event will continue in the coming years.