Monday, April 28, 2014

My Childhood home



One of the seven hills of Nainital
The  image on top of this page is one of Nainital town in the Himalayas. My childhood home in Nainital was just around the center of this image, a little to the right, now behind the cloud on the hill.  This was the area where most army families stayed because it was close to the military Cantonment. As a child of four or five I loved to climb up to window height and look at colorful sail boats in the lake. On rainy days there were no boats but it was nice to look at the patterns the rain water made on the window panes. The same hill is shown in clouds in a Picture I snapped a few years ago from the opposite hillside.

I spent a lot of time in the spacious open kitchen too, especially at times when mother was away to meet her friend by the name of Tunnu next door, where our wonderful cook and family guide all rolled into one - Hira Lal - who belonged to a nearby town of Almora and had learned his skills and English with a British Brigadier who left for England, before he joined our household - would turn out delicious curries, mutton chops or minced meat cutlets wrapped in mashed potatoes that tasted a lot like shephard's pie but have a spicier filling. It was a time when the family ate much more meat than now. Nowadays I am a lovegan food eater for the most part although presently I get chicken too at times to share with a cat who loves it. The kitchen was in a separate section connected to the main house with an open passage and it contained a huge old fashioned wrought iron oven and stove from the previous century. During my childhood we had meat regularly but chicken was rare because it was far more expensive as compared to meat then and was reserved for special treats only. Nowadays, it is the reverse and chicken is much cheaper.

I still recall how Hira Lal would beat in bits of ginger, diced onions, garlic and herbs into the mutton chops with a little kitchen hammer to flatten them out, then dip in a batter of eggs and roll in bread crumbs before frying them golden brown in a pan. I have tried the recipe in later life but they never turn out the same as with Hira Lal who stayed with the family for a near decade before retiring to his village in Almora. My mother said it was because he never got along well with my dad, but then most of us did not :) with the exception of my younger brother born in Nainital and currently a Lt. General in the Army. The cook Hira Lal in a novel I wrote - Nude besides the Lake (see here) - is modeled on the real life Hira Lal and was given the same name.

In summer relatives from the plains visited and an uncle has often told a story of early fifties that I myself have no memory of. He said he was in the flats and saw that a baby show was being organized to select the cutest baby of Nainital. He thought I was very cute and ran all the way home to other side of town and grabbed me for the show. There was no time to change dress, and rushing back in time for the competition to begin, he entered me in dirty clothes but he said I won the competition and became Baby Nainital that year. LOL, I am hardly that cute if you see me now.

By the edge of the lake in an area called the flats was the only cinema hall in town, just a dot on the image below. It is beside the lake in a flat portion of town. My Mother said that she took me for a show of the famous movie ‘King Kong’ there once and I recited incidents from the movie for a long time after. The hill on the opposite side had schools and a picnic spot called Tiffin Top. Our family and friends would walk up to it on holidays. Even at the age of four I would walk up to it all the way briskly without feeling tired as I have been told many times by my mother. Nainital was a lovely town in those days and still is but not as lovely as then because of over development in parts, especially where our home was.

Nainital Lake, photo by author

In this green lake town full of majestic oak and pine trees, wild flowers and mountain springs lay the seeds of my love for nature and thoughts on life and spirituality as expressed in this blog from time to time over the last seven years, seeds that once having sprouted were nurtured in different far flung parts of the globe wherever life and career took me.  This blog was launched in 2007, soon after receiving inspiration to do so from a spiritual friend and guide, Haidakhan Babaji who taught at Haidakhan in the district of Nainital between 1970 and 1984. Essentially his teaching consisted of just around two sentences. love God, recite his name as a meditation (Jap);  promote love, truth and simplicity in your life while reserving some time to serve others - humans in need, animals and nature. He has been described in my book - The Babaji Affair (see here) and another blog exclusively on Nainital -
http://nainitalgoddess.blogspot.com

Taken as a whole, the thoughts expressed in the various posts of this blog  present  a system of thought for life and living, a system that is not rigid like religious systems tend to be because it is assumed they are God's words although they are spoken, written, described and interpreted by man, but instead they are open to revision and continuous improvements with further study just as scientific thoughts are as are all thoughts born of an imperfect human mind. 

The Nainlasians or many Nainitalites like many wise souls of Nainital, an exceptionally beautiful portion of our planet, believe that no one system of philosophy or no single human has a monopoly on truth and knowledge. All have a bit of the infinite God in them and all contribute some  good to the world just as all have a bit of the devil in them too and contribute pee, defecation and stench both metaphorically and literally. Life is an endless quest to evolve and increase the worthy, joyous and the beautiful in life while reducing the worthless, painful and ugly.
Although one may benefit from education in numerous aspects of life, spirituality and spiritual relationships are based in  the highest and purest form of love and therefore do not require the intervention of guru or counselor  unless such relationships are badly damaged, with a fair chance that an incompetent or fraudulent one would damage it further. However one may refer to a teacher for limited periods for learning techniques like some of meditation, prayer or yoga even as one refers to a teacher for learning reading and writing for limited periods or for help in resolving ethical and moral dilemmas, discuss the mysteries of the spiritual side etc.
Genuine spiritual teachers do not latch on to you and often ask you to leave after some training unlike fraudulent ones who latch on like a leech and make a big fuss if you leave their fold even as many religions do. Those are the ones to run away from as fast as possible in my view because the Lord gave freedom of belief and pursuit to all and those who deny that could be agents of the devil if not degenerate lowly humans.
Aside from that, just the love of a loving human parent or child  is enough to re-establish a spoiled relationship between parents and children; just the love of God, the divine parent is sufficient to re-establish any spoiled relationship with Him, for His love exists eternally without change and his books illustrated with colorful wild flowers are all over the trees, lakes and mountain streams, especially in lovely places like Nainital and the lakes of Austria.
Delight in His eternal Love that flows freely without charge, cost or labor merely because one is His loving child.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Food Habits – Vegans, Lovegans, Vegetarians and others



Just as we have persons who belong to some religious sect or other or none at all, humans can be divided on the basis of their food choices in broad categories – vegans, lovegans, vegetarians or others who eat fish and meat from various animals without any philosophical compunctions but with some preferences for the animals they choose e.g. some will eat cats and dogs too but others will not eat them. Many in India will consider eating or even killing a cow a most unholy thing to do a because it too is a loved domestic pet and a motherly one at that  since it provides milk for children and others. The prohibition on eating or killing a cow is because that is unholy, repugnant and unsacred act not especially because a cow is sacred. All life is sacred. The assertion that cows are not eaten merely because they are sacred is a western twist. Cows roam about in Indian neighborhoods just as cats might in western one. However, in  recent years it has been restricted in cities since it is not conducive to the welfare of the cows or humans in modern crowded, paved and motorized urban settings. Let us now briefly review the different food habits of contemporary humans.

Vegans

Such persons not only avoid meat in their diet but also food of all animal origins including milk and eggs. Their contention is that cruelty to animals is involved in commercial production of milk and eggs. However, although vegans prevent violence caused to animals they remain unconcerned about violence caused to food producing plants.Vegans may compromise their health unless they take special care to balance their diets.

Vegetarians

Such persons avoid all flesh foods including eggs but will consume vegetables and milk products since these are not flesh products. Their basis is the same as vegans of avoiding violence to animals but they feel that milk production need not involve violence.

Lovegans

These are perhaps the most compassionate and their diet also appears to be the healthiest. They avoid meat but not eggs and milk products since both may be procured without violence to animals. In addition lovegans also worry about violence to plants and would prefer vegetables such as leaves of spinach or tomatoes where the entire plant does not have to be harvested and can go on to complete its life cycle. However, they also eat seeds such as nuts and food grains realizing that even though they are seeds for new life, they are far in excess of the propagation needs of the plant.

Some lovegans avoid meat completely but others may eat it on occasions believing that full and complete violence cannot be avoided in procurement of food and one is justified as long as one contributes some good to the world besides looking after oneself and one's own.. However in no case is meat a frequent and regular part of their diet. A nation as a whole that comes closest to the lovegan diet is Ikaria. The Ikarians also appear to be the healthiest and longest lived humans on the planet. It appears that Buddha the compassionate one was a lovegan food eater too.


Are vegetarians and lovegans healthy? Sure enough!  Some of the strongest persons in the world are from amongst them. You can read about one of them here:


A detailed description of lovegan food is in an older post here: http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2010/07/lovegan-food-is-better-than-vegetarian.html

A more detailed post on the Ikarians is here:




Friday, April 25, 2014

God dwells in the heart and the devil in the head



You would have come across a piece of advice that says, trust your feelings. It is not recommended by this blogger unless one knows what the source of those feelings are.

An individual consciousness is plugged both into the universal consciousness of which it is a part and the individual mind where it dwells for the most part. Feelings arise from both of these sources. The source of feelings of compassion and motherly love as well as many others derive from the all knowing infinite source that sustains all life whereas feelings of greed, ego, lust and anger arise from the individual mind and habits born out of its working. You would have heard the old adage that the mind is the devils workshop.

Hence it is appropriate to say that God dwells in the heart and the Devil in the head ( certainly not all heads though :-). Therefore, whereas a person rooted in love, truth and simplicity may do well by trusting his or her feelings, another who is rooted in lust, anger, greed or pride would do well to stay away from them.

In times of dire and essential need, the Universal consciousness may take over one’s feelings and those one has to interact with so as to see one through that phase as any loving parent would, even grab the wheel from a child’s hand if the car was headed for disaster or if the child was still learning. At most other times, the Universal consciousness lets a person be as any loving parent would so that a child grows with its own experience and even  learns from his or her mistakes. We are all children in His eyes.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Jose Mujica, The Godly President and the song of the one percent



Jose Mujica on his farm
While democracy has spread across the world,  many politicians are not regarded very highly by the population at large in several countries. Several are seen as working for their own interests or to protect the interests of a vested minority and sing the song of the one percent.

However on this scene there is a clear exception. He is Jose Mujica, the President of Uruguay, a politician who is loved by his people. José Mujica has been President of Uruguay since 2010. Mujica was born on 20 May 1935 to Demetrio of Basque Spanish ancestry and Lucy, a daughter of Italian immigrants. Mujica's father was a small farmer who faced bankruptcy.

At a time when many world leaders impose austerity on their citizens, Mujica himself maintains a simple and austere lifestyle. He has been described as the world's poorest president due to his austere lifestyle.  Yet in his heart he regards himself as the richest and most fortunate of human beings. The joy of this contendedness shines brilliantly on his face. He says,

"I'm called 'the poorest president', but I don't feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more,"

True enough, how can one measure riches by wealth alone? A poor person is one who wants, not one who gives. The richest is the one who gives away most of his income most of the time. He refused to live in the Presidential Palace, but instead lives on his wife's simple farm on the outskirts of Montevideo where he and his wife grow and sell fruits and flowers. He drives an old 1987 VW beetle. He donates 90% of his Presidential salary to charity. He’s a citizen like any other, except he doesn’t have a bank account. Mujica’s annual salary is about US$ 150,000 but he keeps only 10% of it for personal expenses and transfers the rest to a Foundation which supports small productive enterprises and NGOs working on housing developments for the poor. Mujica offered the use of the official presidential residence to serve as shelter for homeless families. He dresses casually like an ordinary farmer most times but is not averse to wearing a suit and tie if the occasion demands. Needless to say it is gentle humanity and joy that is written all over his countenance rather than sleaze and misery often found on the faces of many other politicians along with a sulk and a frown.

Under his mandate, Uruguay has prospered economically and socially to become one of the most paradise like countries on the planet.  He is a socialist but is not averse to capitalism when it helps everyone rather than just a few. The unemployment rate in Uruguay is lower than that of the US.

Many of his views on God and religion are similar to those of Buddha except that he does not regard life as  suffering but as as something beautiful worth cherishing and an opportunity to contribute joy to the world. He neither affirms God nor denies Him, regarding the entire Universe, all of nature and all life within it as a manifestation of a Universal consciousness. Needless to say he is a vegetarian but in an informal Lovegan way like Buddha not in a fanatical vegan way. It is a view of spirituality that is similar to a view of spirituality as portrayed in this blog. In his own words:

"Every day I believe a little bit more in Nature. I learned this very simple lesson: life is beautiful so you have to live it with intensity and pursue happiness.”

A Scene from Uruguay
In June 2012, his government made a move to legalize state-controlled sales of marijuana in order to fight illegal drug trade and the misery it causes. Time magazine featured an article on the matter. Mujica said that by regulating marijuana business, the state will take it away from drug traffickers, and weaken the drug cartels. The state would also be able to keep track of all marijuana consumers in the country, and provide treatment to the most serious abusers, much like what is done with alcoholics. There is an older post on Cannabis in this blog that describes how keeping cannabis illegal is harming humanity rather than helping it although it does create a profit for criminals and others who feed on that profit that includes officials and politicians. As a result, instead of killing each other in huge numbers and ending up with a corrupt police force as in Mexico and other countries, under the project 'war on drugs', Urguayans are loving and kissing each other instead, while psychiatric sickness and drug related crime common in many other countries is fast disappearing from the land. The contribution of cannabis to improve psychiatric health has been discussed in detail in this blog at the earlier link on cannabis. A side benefit is that alcohol related deaths from road accidents have also come down because some of the people now smoke hash instead which appears to be less addictive than tobacco and kills fewer people than alcohol.

Uruguay, under the leadership of one enlightened leader based in love and truth,  Jose Mujica won the war on drugs with love, not guns while in other countries such as Mexico they are still busy killing each other over it.

More recently, moved by compassion and concern, he volunteered to take some Guantanamo Bay prisoners in his country. Therefore here is one person, a President, one can not but help classify as a saint or godly. He does not belong to the present but to a future when the world moves away from the rule of hypocrisy and one percent to a rule that caters to the interests of the majority while protecting interests of minorities. Currently, the world has yet to move out of even one person rule in all of the countries of the world. It was not too long ago that the world was ruled by kings and queens and therefore it does not see absurdities of amazing concentrations of wealth and/or power in a few hands while others are homeless or starve. Needless to say. the more it is the rule of one person in reality, the more it is either ordained by God or the peoples rule in lying words and descriptions. Atrocious lies are the handmaiden of oppression and the devil,  just as love, truth and simplicity are those of the gentle and the godly.

A dear friend of mine Vinod Khurana, who recently retired as one of the senior most bureaucrats of India, when he read this post was inspired enough to compose a poem in the honor of the President



A Tribute to Jose Mujica in Verse
by Vinod Khurana  
as rendered by Ashok Malhotra
 

A Photo of a window of the author's home

When breath is taken away
And the rest returns

From whence it came
Becoming one with the stars and ferns


Into that womb of nature we go
Where no I and me remain
Dispersed wide and thin 

All essence becomes one

May our knowledge increase
Of nature and its secrets
While there is life and breath
And before life  comes to a rest


When comes physical end
When life passes over the bend

Nature shall take life in its lap
To become its part, firm in its grasp


A voice from shores far away cries alone
Prophets are rarely recognized at home
Mahatmas lived with simplicity and shined
Now living in our hearts and mind
You are Nature's beloved, President Mujica

In love and truth and free from greed
Such a one, as is rare to find
Hail thee all corners, where there is life
Also there where one may ultimately lie.


Best wishes to President Jose Mujica from all corners of the globe and to all citizens of his wonderful country.

Uruguay image from wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Maldonado_desde_la_Barra.jpg


Note; Some stats on Uruguay here: http://data.worldbank.org/country/uruguay




Appendix

Note for Uruguay; Ten Points
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Since it is more or less certain that this note shall be found by some in Uruguay government through Google searches, this additional appendix is included for this enlightened country of the world with a view towards a continued good future for this country. Following appear to be promising areas that the administration and policy makers of the country may reflect on as coming from a disinterested yet educated international observer. These thoughts emerged as a result of the research this author did on Uruguay for writing this article:



  1. There appears to be a need to expand and modernize the Airport at Montevideo and improve its direct connectivity to New York to enhance tourism.
  2. There appears to be a need to expand rail connectivity within the country.
  3. The legal system needs a review so as to treat some offences with a fine and community service instead of prison terms to reduce presently high prison population. A one time amnesty may also be considered for less serious offenders or those who have served half their terms. Please read http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2012/02/prisoners-choice.html
  4. On the environmental front there is a need to expand forests perhaps choosing food producing trees including more olive trees.
  5. Permit connecting individual solar PV systems to the electricity supply grid with a possibility of credit for feeding the grid.
  6. On the education front increasing the content of English language for enhanced international communications as well as secular ethical/moral science/humanism content of education in schools and universities appears desirable
  7. On the agricultural front there appears to be a need to expand vineyards and invite Italian quality wine makers to establish collaborations for units in Uruguay.
  8. On nutrition front an ideal model of diet is the Ikaria model and it may be studied in more detail along with promotion of same to minimize dependence on meat and beef diet. A greater emphasis on cheese and other diary products may be be given as compared to meat production.
  9. There is a need to expand quality cannabis plantations perhaps even obtaining original stock from Himalayan regions and simultaneously to develop government certification for quality packaging for domestic consumption as well as future exports, since it is the only country in the world where this ancient herb is legalized.
  10. Establishment/encouragement  of a Uruguay Philharmonic orchestra and opera house to strengthen the finest of European cultural roots.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

 


Sunday, April 20, 2014

How to Prevent Damage from Forest Fires



 
Forest Fire Protection


While several earlier posts in this blog have advocated the creation of more forests and planting more trees as a measure to mitigate adverse climate changes, forests pose a danger to humans too. This danger arises when forest fires occur and engulf a human habitation. The ensuing damage can be tragic. Some areas such as those in California and Australia are more prone to such damages than others and preventive measures need to be put in place in order to avert tragedies especially in areas prone to this danger.

One possible preventive measure is the creation of an agricultural strip or body of water such as a lake between the human habitation and the forest as shown in the adjoining schematic. If such a strip is being newly created an excellent design for the surrounding agricultural land is the use of AM strip farms. This type of farm was proposed in an earlier post as a job creation measure but it has excellent application in the present case too.

The Characteristics of AM Strip farms

  1. They consist of agricultural holdings in narrow strips that are two hundred feet wide and about half a mile deep yielding lots of approximately ten acres
  2. Non agricultural activity and construction is permitted up to a depth of two hundred feet from an approach road that is between 100 to 200 feet wide. No other construction is permitted on the remaining lot.
Animals entering water during a forest fire


If the presently suggested method is used as a mitigation measure, it would lead to at least a half mile deep agricultural strip between the habitation and forest with the first two hundred feet adjacent to the road permitted for construction. Each farm will have a front on the road whereas the rear would be adjacent to the forest. Such a town would be blessed with fresh agricultural produce too. This initiative could be combined with a job creation initiative as described in the original posts on strip farms. It would mean removing some forests in some cases and this loss would need to be compensated by planting a similar forest elsewhere.

What about persons who like living adjacent to a forest? This author is one of them but in that case one must relocate to an area that does not have a history of damaging forest fires. There are other risks too of living adjacent to a forest in the modern age such as the risk of a break-in. Even with the present proposal the forest is less than a mile away for walks and picnics on forest trails.

The present proposals need greater study in detail before implementing. This author is available for any further information if required and can be contacted as a comment in this blog to begin with.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Impact of increased Carbon Dioxide Emissions on Human Health and Evolution



As mankind burns fossil fuels to meet its energy needs, carbon emissions are added to the atmosphere. Some of them such as particulate matter are short lived but others such as carbon dioxide is a long lived component. A previous note explored the impact of carbon dioxide emissions on climate change: (http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2014/04/a-new-perspective-on-climate-change.html)  It was concluded that a much higher level of around 1000 ppm of carbon dioxide appears to be beneficial for the green side of life – plants and trees – because carbon dioxide is to plants as oxygen is to animals. It was also stated that the full impact of such increases on global ecology is a matter for further study.  The present note touches upon a topic that has received little attention so far – The impact of increased carbon dioxide on human physical and spiritual evolution. It is assumed that both go hand in hand as regards humans. The present brief note merely makes initial comments with the hope of initiating more detailed studies in this direction. Over the past century, carbon dioxide levels have increased to present levels of around 400 ppm. With continued use of fossil fuels it is expected to increase further.

It is essential to clarify at the outset what is meant by spiritual here. It is a broad term that can describe things varying from a tribal beating on a drum while some dance around a fire to others burdened by an original sin lost in the mists of time. However, here spirituality and spiritual evolution refer to something much simpler. It is to do with compassion, beauty, clarity of thought to understand truths of our universe, a sense of humility at our smallness in this vast universe and a sense of wondrous joy about it. Further, the present discussion clubs spiritual evolution with a physical one because there is an assumption that the essential inner or spiritual consciousness is the template on which the physical universe that includes individual life forms, evolve and unfold.

When we speak of the impact of increased carbon dioxide it is also assumed simultaneously that levels of oxygen shall either be the same or increase but not diminish. One need not worry that they would decrease as carbon dioxide increases to 1000 ppm because that is still only 0.1 percent of the atmosphere. Moreover the increased photosynthesis would result in the generation of more oxygen while nitrogen levels can only go down because plants absorb nitrogen too through a complex nitrogen cycle for their growth. Therefore an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does not lead to a decrease in oxygen. It may remain substantially unchanged or increase.

The central question is what will happen to humans when carbon dioxide increases in the very air they breathe. Air, water and food are fundamental to life and its quality is fundamental to the quality of life that depends upon it. Of these, air is more important than water and water more important than food. A human may live for a few weeks without food, for a few days without water and only for a few minutes without air. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the quality of air a human breathes every instant of his life plays a critical role in the quality of his being. Changes in carbon dioxide content are bound to have an influence.

In order to determine the influence of increases carbon dioxide content in the air we breathe does not require many new studies or experiments because already several scholarly and medical studies exist on the subject where the influence of carbon dioxide as high as five or even ten percent has been studied in detail. The interested reader can easily discover these through a google search. It turns out that carbon dioxide does not have a negative role provided the oxygen percentage remains high. If anything the influence seems to be a beneficial one. Air also has a large component of nitrogen in it but while that component appears to have little influence carbon dioxide plays a more fundamental role on human psyche and biology.

Just to quote from one of these references “In the twelfth paper of this series, Wolff and Lennox showed by experiments on animals that an increased concentration of carbon dioxide increases the volume of blood passing through the brain by raising the systemic blood pressure and by dilating the cerebral arteries. Venous blood becomes more arterial-like (richer in oxygen and poorer in carbon dioxide). They expressed the belief that the most effective measure for increasing the supply of blood, and hence of oxygen, to the tissues of the brain is the inhalation of a mixture of 90 per cent oxygen and 10 per cent carbon dioxide. The latter increases the diameter of arteries and, by inducing a condition of acidosis, increases the dissociation of oxygen from hemoglobin and makes more oxygen available for the tissues. It also stimulates respiration and increases the blood pressure.”

Please do note that the past comment concerns animals not humans. However as regards humans, in the past a mixture of carbon dioxide and oxygen called carbogen was used in therapy. “Meduna administered carbogen to his patients to induce abreaction, which, with proper preparation and administration, he found could help clients become free of their neuroses. Carbogen users are said to have discovered unconscious contents of their mind, with the experience clearing away repressed material and freeing the subject for a smoother, more profound psychedelic experience.”

It must be pointed out that these quotations concern very high levels of carbon dioxide whereas even with 1000 ppm carbon dioxide the level would be only 0.1 percent i.e. far lower. If the quotations have been included here, it is merely to illustrate that carbon dioxide is not a poisonous pollutant when inhaled but in fact small increases may be beneficial. One may look at the past of our planet too. During the Cambrian era when carbon dioxide levels were far higher in the atmosphere an explosion of evolution and new life forms took place on the planet.

Now turning our gaze to recent times, the past six or seven decades in which carbon dioxide levels have increased gradually to a level of 400 ppm due to heavy usage of fossil fuels, can we discern any changes in human evolution or well being? This same period has seen a tremendous rise of human population. Increasing number of humans have been forced into crowded and polluted cities and many are forced to live in high rise apartments without the benefit of outdoors. To add to human woes, daily commuting on crowded roads has increased and the synthetic chemical component of processed foods as well as vegetables has seen an increase. All this does not contribute to human well being. Yet the same period has also seen an increase of life spans and new technological discoveries such as nuclear power, television, computers, and mobile devices etc. that have changed human lives drastically. Democracy has become more prevalent in the world and although exploitation of humans by a small percentage of the powerful, the so called one percent continues, its yoke is being loosened with a proliferation of free speech and it has at least moved from the rule of one person to one percent except for a few isolated countries. In this complex picture it is difficult to arrive at any definite conclusion about the role of increased carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere on human lives. Prima facie it appears to be beneficial. Further studies in this direction are needed.


Looking at the situation philosophically, carbon breathing life forms and oxygen breathings ones have evolved in co-operation right from the very beginning of evolution.  None can survive without the other. In a sense they are two sides of the same coin called life. Therefore, it is to be expected that if one prospers the other shall too.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A new Perspective on Climate Change





Climate changes and global warming do appear to be taking place due to man-made causes but hitherto it is possible that the cause of it all may have been incorrectly identified by a majority of experts. Statistical correlations can mislead and it appears that the assigned cause - carbon dioxide emissions - may be less relevant to the issue at hand than has been presumed. While a minority had expressed dissent from the start, they were not heeded, perhaps because of socio-political and psychological reasons that fall outside the realm of scientific reasoning. It seems, humans believe more readily what they wish to believe.

The simple and straightforward cause to climate changes aside from natural cycles may be a a reduction of forest and tree cover on the planet over the last century rather than minute increases, in percentage terms, of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Far larger quantities of another greenhouse gas - water vapor- have been present in the atmosphere even if it is subject to negative feedback loops as some have tried to assign to it. The other causes are so obvious that it is surprising  they have not been given the importance they deserve. The difficulty now is that a number of intergovernmental panels, NGOs and groups including one of concerned academics at Harvard have believed the experts or misinterpreted their silence and may have jumped on to the bandwagon of an erroneous cause.  None doubts their sincerity and the ability to contribute good in the world, provided they know what the right thing to do is. What will they do now? The answer to that question is also simple. Back track a bit and take a new road. The destination, after all is the same for all - an improved planet.

For those who still do not believe this, all they have to do is step into a forest in hot weather and feel the temperature difference. Is it surprising then that the planet as a whole has become just a bit warmer considering the destruction of forests that has taken place all over the planet for more than a century?


 Accordingly:
1. A much healthier atmosphere for the production of food and growth of plants and trees requires 1000 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rather than the present 400 ppm. However, the full impact of a higher level of carbon dioxide i.e. 1000 ppm on the full global ecology including the oceans needs further study.

2. Some calculations show that an increase of the greenhouse, gas carbon dioxide from 400 ppm (0.04%) to 1000 ppm (0.1%) will perhaps lead to a global temperature rise of less that 0.1 degree centigrade. However, present stocks of fossil fuels may be insufficient for attaining this level.

3.  The past rise to 400 ppm from 200ppm perhaps may  not have contributed to more that a 0.02 degree centigrade rise in global temperature as per heat transfer estimates.

4. It appears that present levels of carbon dioxide may be too minute to cause climate extremes and disturbances

5. Trees play a major role in cooling the atmosphere and stabilizing climates. Improvements in climate require extensive forestation efforts on the planet. Although growth of many new forests and trees will reduce carbon dioxide levels as they absorb that gas for their growth, it would be towards a useful end of improving climate and environment.
It does seem that many experts would not disagree with conclusion numbers 1 and 5 above. It is conclusions number 2, 3 and 4 that are new. Only a minority of specialists in the area currently accept them. This author believes that future studies will clarify the position further and perhaps support them. The present conclusions do not imply in the least that efforts at development of renewable energy must be slowed down in any manner. Fossil fuels are a limited resource and they are becoming increasingly expensive. Further, their use does cause local pollution if not a global one. Instead what the present conclusions imply is that ignoring the real cause of climate changes and global warming i.e. deforestation and not doing anything substantial about it could be devastating for the planet.

The Complication in the Debate

Often the ordinary world citizen has watched in disgust as private corporations promote even harmful products and services and politicians paid by them in various support it. Therefore when the fossil fuel industry and their political supporters deny climate change the public is naturally skeptical.


The present author has absolutely no affiliation to any fossil fuel industry but has put his independent opinion on the subject as an independent voice. He does not deny climate change but feels it is severe. However if his understanding is that deforestation rather than carbon dioxide is the major cause it just happens to be so. The fossil fuel industry must not be pleased with this author though, because elsewhere he has recommended they pay a tax for the carbon generated to support forestation efforts on the planet. Such forest will not only absorb the carbon but also improve the planet in many other ways. If food producing trees are selected, that would be even more useful.

Putting the Climate Change Controversies to rest – The Way Forward

The believers quote Climate Scientists, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change etc. in support of climate change in general and in particular the role of carbon emissions in contributing to global warming through the greenhouse effect of such emissions.

However there is one serious problem here, consulting climate scientists on the issue is like consulting a brain surgeon for problems of the heart. One might get a guess about it from the brain surgeon but only a cardiologist could give a definite answer. Some such thing is happening with the climate change issue too. While climate scientists know a lot about climate that is not a precise issue at hand and this author is speaking about this as a scientist, being one himself (see this) and not as a general blogger now. Let us frame the key scientific problem that needs an answer precisely. It is this,

“If carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere increases in the range of 0.01 percent to 0.1 percent (the relevant range spanning 100 ppm to 1000 ppm) how much will be the temperature increase in the atmosphere due to addition of to these gases by greenhouse and any other effect.”

Now, if this question was put to a climate scientist he could only make an educated guess about it but it is a heat transfer scientist that can carry out the precise calculation. Even amongst heat transfer scientists there are different ones specializing in different aspects and this task requires a heat transfer scientist specialized in atmospheric radiation heat transfer, not just one, but rather a panel of them. Therefore what is needed is an intergovernmental panel of Atmospheric Radiation Heat Transfer Scientists not one on climate change. It may be mentioned that there are very few such in the world.

Has such a calculation been done? If so, this author would appreciate receiving a reference. He himself is a heat transfer scientist but not one primarily in radiation heat transfer but rather convective heat transfer in enclosed spaces and can only make approximate calculations about it but better than what a climate scientist might do through statistical correlations that are merely a mathematical guess, not a scientific answer.

 Further Reading

The following note is useful reading for any interested citizen of the world who would like to participate more effectively in the climate change debate:
http://steamcenter.blogspot.in/2014/12/how-to-make-climate-change-debate-more.html 
A more detailed explanation of these five points is given in the following article:
A note on the impact of higher carbon dioxide levels on human health and well-being  is here http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2014/04/impact-of-increased-carbon-dioxide.html
update, May 2015: Quite another view here: http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-32639813 

UPDATE JULY 12, 2014

New studies support the conclusion here: Separating signal and noise in atmospheric temperature changes: The importance of timescale, by Santer B. D. et al, Journal of Geophysical Research, 2011, view online at:  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011JD016263/abstract

UPDATE October 2015


In several earlier posts of this and other blog including this one this blogger has consistently maintained that while climate changes are taking place and they do seem to be from human causes, this cause cannot be due to carbon dioxide. Its level of 400ppm or 0.04% is simply too small to cause a significant change in temperature as a greenhouse gas. A recent study has validated the author’s claim.Dr David Evans ONE of the world's leading climate change experts claims to have discovered mathematical anomalies which effectively 'disprove' global warming. He said he "mapped out" the architecture of the climate models used and found, that while the physics was correct, it had been "applied wrongly". He claims to have found two reasons for it being wrongly applied, the first being a vastly over estimated impact on our temperature from CO2.



The author still maintains that the human cause that is significantly influencing climate and causing climate extremes is the large scale deforestation that has taken place on the planet over the last century.



Photo above from https://www.facebook.com/ClimateChangeGuide/photos/a.220106464729858.53038.209071469166691/722176571189509/?type=1&theater


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Children are close to God



A picture of my god-grandson Golu (Naynesh)
Children because of their innocence remain in close companionship of the Almighty God. In a sense they are the gentle and loving facet of God. That is why they inspire love in all who interact with them. It is only when we become adults that we either disbelieve or avoid even ignore the Source of our wondrous and infinite universe. This is also true for many who say that they believe in the Lord. However, if we can lose our own sense of pride and greatness while inculcating love and innocence, as is common with  children, we too can come close to God, even as adults. It does not matter if we view God as a person with a human-like form, as nature or as the formless Infinite, as a Christian or Jew; as Hindu or Buddhist or Muslim. All that is required is to be seeped in Love and shun hatred for there can be nothing further from God than hatred. He is all about love, or even as an Independent theist who would rather stay away from any human religious organizations. God is all of these and everything else besides, being every part of whatever is real and beautiful in the universe as the eternal reality of it all.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

A need for more Trees - A possible cause of recent Saharan dust storms in Europe


On the banks of Sattal ( Seven lakes region of Himalayas)


The photo above is one from the District of Nainital (The seven lakes region) in Himalayas showing this author along with his adopted son and grandson in the summer of 2010. This district is still full of lovely trees but sadly that is not the case with many other parts of the world today.

Over the last century as human population has increased on the planet the population of trees has gone down drastically due to human activity. This has led to a deterioration of the environmental quality of the planet as well as climate instabilities.  A reduction of trees on the planet and the resulting change of wind directions may well be the cause of recent Saharan dust pollution in Europe.


Global deforestation sharply accelerated around 1852. It has been estimated that about half of the Earth's mature tropical forests—between 7.5 million and 8 million km2 of the original 15 million to 16 million km2 that until 1947 covered the planet have now been destroyed.  The destruction of non-tropical forests appears to be even more severe and began earlier as forests were cleared for agriculture and urbanization in Europe and America. The deforestation continues and recent trends can be found at the following links

Trees play a crucial role in controlling global warming and climate extremes. You may read more detailed post on that here:



Human are the only species on the planet that have the capacity to be both consciously destructive as well as constructive. It is time now for every human to make some contribution towards more trees on the planet. Every tree helps and you can begin now by casting your vote for more trees at the following link.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Trust the Lord or trust fellow humans



My five year old grandson Golu trusts and loves the Lord
When Man is mentioned here in the title what is meant is, man, his words, his beliefs, science etc. His here includes her and the mention of man is for both men and women. However a lack of trust does not in the least imply for me a lack of love for mankind. Rather my compassion and love for humans has increased because of it.

I do not reject science altogether because I am a scientist myself and to do that would be to reject a part of myself. What is implied is that not just the science and technology of man but also his philosophy is at all times accepted by me and I hope by every wise person with much reservation and fistfuls of salt. When it comes to human medical science, interfering with human, animal and plant biology such as GM foods this caution even turns to dread. For much that many would go to a human doctor for, I have turned to Almighty God as many of my posts may have revealed, and this too has been a paradoxically a result of the study of science.

First, the belief in God although inherent in self from childhood was thrown into doubt and debate soon after I began university level education in science and technology. However, as I went further and further in this field, to its highest levels, further enquiry returned my belief in the Lord and Almighty in full and firm force. I shall not go into the details of this here but one can find those arguments in perhaps the very first post of this blog long ago. What may be mentioned is that it is because of similar discoveries that many scientists themselves including Einstein were firm believers while many of their students who studied science up to lesser levels were not.

Now returning to dread of science as regards human biology, the dread emerged during doctoral research in phenomenon concerned with relatively simple engineering devices. It was realized that even in simple things like thermal power plants and the flow of a simple fluid like water in a pipe there is much that we as human scientists do not know yet, much is subject to revision and much that may still take centuries before it can be improved. This did not mean that I rejected science, because it does make many useful contributions despite all this, in easing human lives. I myself have made contributions in this direction that any reader can check out by searching for my name as a google scholar where scientific publications, citations and their use by others would be found listed. However the clear message was that when we do not even know enough about simple machines, it would be foolish to expect that we would know more about a far more complex one – human, plant and animal bodies – that God or mechanisms of the universe devised by Him and under His control made. Therefore to express blind faith in procedures based on this incomplete knowledge to the extent of allowing free play with even one’s body and even far more so with one’s mind as expressed in an earlier post borders on utter foolishness to my mind. Now in the evening of my life I feel well vindicated by such beliefs by observing instances from my own life and those of friends and relatives who believed and did otherwise.

I do not mean to suggest that one must reject all medical procedures. Very many of them are of great benefit. For example there is nothing like a nice plaster for a fracture of the limb or an antibiotic for a growing and painful infection. What is suggested is that before any serious intervention with one’s body, a careful deliberation, wide consultation and an evaluation of alternatives especially simple ones must be considered, especially if time permits. A simple cheap alternative, if available, although appearing leas attractive in the short run may prove to be the best choice in the long run. The cheaper the alternative, the less the taint of greed! It goes without saying that in doing so you are likely to save money for something pleasant like a holiday and the capacity of your body and mind to enjoy it as well as the beauty of your body to attract a pleasant companion for the holiday too.

Some decade and a half ago, when I suffered from Angina and had been advised to go for some by-pass surgery or risk sudden collapse, I shunned it completely. I reasoned that everyone goes one day anyway and when one does, it would be much better by a stoppage of a heart rather than with a slow failure of the liver, kidney or tumors that grew gradually with increasing pain in the body.  I wrote a post on it in this blog earlier that can be found by searching called – When heart disease is a blessing. This sentiment is expressed in the poetic prayer of a recent post too. When I explained that to one of the most competent doctors in the country who was also a family friend (General Harish Puri) he appeared to get annoyed and could not give a satisfactory rebuttal. Further, from belief in the Lord and soul came belief in future lives and I also realized that it is a blessing when people leave the world reasonably young in a fit state rather than a very aged ailing one. May as well get into a new fresh body clothing sooner rather than go tottering about in a worn out one! My reluctance to get my angina treated led to my near collapse and demise on some occasions in this period lasting over seven years, when I depended on nothing more than a soluble aspirin thrown in a glass of water and which I carried with me at all times, combined with mindful breathing and mantra jap described in earlier posts that can be found by using the search tool at the top of the left column.

However, it seems that the Lord has not decided to relocate me just yet. My angina has vanished on its own over the years while some friends who depended on doctors are into their third stent or bypasses and baloonings accompanied with a compromised depressed existence.

My distrust for some medical procedures is not entirely a result of scientific study but also because of a philosophical one that has enabled understanding human nature. The understanding has been that medical procedures do not arise only out of scientific advancement but also out of human commercial greed and a human ego that regards itself at times as superior to the Doctor of the universe Who created infinitely more complex life forms and the universe with far greater perfection and ease than any human can ever dream of.

A similar realisation has been a part of the understanding of many since ancient times and it is perhaps because of this that Solomon the wise said thousands of years ago.

“One who does not fear the Lord fears man”