Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
The Forever Fight against Ageing
Only holistic measures to improve one’s consciousness will help, not young blood or young girls
 
A friend of mine sent me an interesting article written by a journalist, Ian Sample, on the above-mentioned subject. At first, I thought the idea is novel and should be a do-able proposition. Later, I realised how foolish the idea was. The article was about an ‘earth-shaking discovery’—that infusing young blood into old/elderly is the treatment for old-age diseases; it also makes the recipient younger morphologically! For a lay-reader, this is very exciting. Who wants to grow old and die? 
 
History is replete with such crazy ideas. The elderly have been getting blood of the youth transfused into themselves, in the hope of staying eternally young—and immortal. All of them came to grief, though. There have been attempts at sleeping with young girls to get ‘rejuvenated’. Most, of course, went to their Maker a bit prematurely, some thanks to sexually transmitted diseases. Our memories are fresh about the macabre stories of young children being kidnapped for sacrificing them to supply blood for the rich old people. 
 
In January 2014, Wyss-Coray set up Alkahest, a company that aims to separate plasma into its constituent parts and combine them into a potent, rejuvenating cocktail. Wrote Ian Sample, “In Silicon Valley, scientists frequently launch start-up companies on the back of early-stage research—an alignment of the commercial and the scientific that some researchers still frown upon.” Sergio Della Sala, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, warns that it can raise a conflict of interest. “Science should first understand then sell,” he said. “We should always be sceptical when these two factors are reversed.” Unfortunately, that is exactly Western reductionist science is all about! Any scientific discovery that has a business possibility even attracts the attention of the Nobel committee. 
 
Real science, or what is called ‘The Reality’, is totally different. The human body cannot be cured or rejuvenated by any one of these reductionist methods. Human body is but the human mind or human consciousness. It can be preserved or rejuvenated by changing the human mind to be altruistic. Pain, even of the severest variety, could be controlled by our own mind helping our forebrain to produce powerful opioids and not by reductionist chemical pain-killers as the layman thinks. Ageing reversal also could be done through our consciousness. Mindful meditation has been scientifically demonstrated to increase the length of the telomeres—the circular bands at the end of chromosomes which keep becoming shorter as age advances. It is believed that this process can reverse ageing.
 
History tells us that if man becomes tranquil and keeps his intellectual powers at the highest level, s/he does not age as fast as those who do not pursue intellectual excellence. Seventeenth century Edinburgh was called the ‘Athens of the North’ with many top intellectuals residing there. Medical history of those times has recorded that some of those people suffered from killer diseases like the plague, smallpox, cholera and typhoid but lived, all the same, into their 90s in good health with their intellects still alert and sharp! Khushwant Singh and Shivaram Karanth are among the few who come to mind immediately; they lived long with clear minds and sharp intellect. 
 
Only holistic measures to improve one’s consciousness (mind) will help and not young blood or young girls. The latter idea could be dangerous as it might bring back the macabre scene of children being kidnapped to keep our greedy rich people alive by our greedy middlemen and even doctors!
 
“Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men.” — Marcus Garvey

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Are You Ready for Windows 10?
After much testing, Windows 10 is here and Microsoft is offering free upgrade
 
Microsoft has started releasing volume licensing for its newest operating system (OS), Windows 10, from August 2015. Microsoft has said that during its first year, Windows 10 would be made available free to users of genuine eligible editions of Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update. Since Microsoft has launched Windows 10 as a ‘service’ and not a product, it is worthwhile to look at the new features and usability of this OS. As per initial feedback, Indian users will not been able to use some advanced features like Cortana, the voice-controlled virtual assistant available only in the United States, United Kingdom, China, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. In addition, several users are complaining that, while upgrading through express setting, Windows 10 changes the default browser to its own Edge instead of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox that you may have been using as default for surfing the Internet.
 
Unlike the previous releases, this new OS is available for upgrading through the Internet. In normal circumstances and download speed, it would take a minimum three hours to upgrade to Windows 10. However, given the state of our broadband service-providers, the download may go on for the entire night. Windows 10 upgrade is a large file—about 3GB—and you may end up consuming your entire monthly quota. So be prepared for additional bill from your ISP as well, unless you have an unlimited download plan. 
 
While upgrading, make sure to scan for compatibility of third-party applications. Third-party applications software that is not compatible with Windows 10 would be removed from the system before upgrade. You can also use a tool created by Microsoft for installing or uninstalling Windows 10. For this, too, you will need Internet connection, sufficient storage space, a blank USB (universal serial bus) or DVD (digital versatile disc) with at least 4GB space (make sure to use a blank media, as all data would be deleted during the media creation process).
 
Hardware: For upgrading to Windows 10, your PC should have 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor, 1GB read-only memory (RAM) for 32-bit version or 2GB for 64-bit version, 16GB storage space for 32-bit or 20GB for 64-bit OS, a graphics card with DirectX9, or later with WDDM 1.0 driver and a display of minimum 800x600 pixels (the higher the better).
 

Should You Go for It?

According to reviews, Windows 10 offers the stability and usability (read mouse+keyboard) of Windows 7 and touch features of Windows 8. Microsoft has tried to make the transition from PC to tablet, and vice versa, a smooth affair. Nate Ralph, from CNET, says, “As always, there are some quibbles and gripes with the end product, but all-in-all—after living with Windows 10 for months—I can say that it’s a winner. It’s flexible, adaptable and customisable. And it’s been battle-tested by an army of beta testers for the better part of a year, making it one of the most robust operating system rollouts in recent memory.”
 
 “Windows 10 delivers a refined, vastly improved vision for the future of computing with an operating system that’s equally at home on tablets and traditional PCs—and it’s a free upgrade for most users,” CNET says in its review for Windows 10.
 
Woody Leonhard, from Windows Secrets, an online newsletter, has a similar view. “Windows 10 appears to be a qualified success,” he says and adds, “My general advice for Windows 8/8.1 users is to go ahead and install Win10. For Windows 7 users, the recommendation is not so clear-cut. Typically, I tell Win7 users to wait a while. Let us see what Microsoft brings out for the ‘TH2’ update reportedly scheduled for October.” 
 
Windows 10 is more secure, is interesting and useful. However, it depends on you if you want to upgrade from the stable (and only a few issues) Win7 or discard the problematic Win8 for a new one. Since Microsoft offers you a downgrade to your original OS within 30 days after upgrading to Windows 10, go for ‘upgrade’ instead of a clean install and check it out yourself. Also, while upgrading, use the custom setting, instead of express, so that you can make your current, preferred browser as default for surfing the Internet.

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Maintain Your Building like You Maintain Your Health
Home owners need to be aware and take proper care not only of their property but also the apartment building like their own health, say renowned structural consultants Achyut Watve, Umesh Joshi and architect Prakash Deshmukh at a Moneylife Foundation seminar in Mumbai
 
People spend their lifetime saving to buy a home or apartment, however, while choosing the apartment building and after moving into it, hardly think about safety and maintenance of the building. "One needs to maintain the home and the apartment building like he/ she cares for own health," say renowned structural consultants Achyut Watve, Umesh Joshi and architect Prakash Deshmukh. They were speaking at an interactive session on "How Safe Is Your Building?" organised by Moneylife Foundation in Mumbai.
 
Mr Watve and Mr Joshi, both Partners of JW Consultants LLP, a highly regarded name in structural consultancy that works with reputed construction companies in India and abroad, said, the owners (of the home) needs to be more aware about the maintenance timeline and follow it rigorously.
 
According to them, during the first 10 years of the building, owners need to maintain all records of the property, like approved architectural plans, structural plans along with design brief, including loading on each floor, parking loads, landscape load and material testing records from builder. The maintenance and care taken of the building over next 20 years will decide its life for 30 year onwards, they said.
 
 
"Owners should regularly inspect and maintain building. While regular painting will seal fine cracks, for structural cracks approved methods of repairing needs to be used. In addition, the residents should also inspect common facilities, electrical systems, fire suppression system in the building and take proper measures to repair, rectify it on time. Also, one needs to understand that waterproofing has limited life and may start leakage later. This also needs to be checked regularly," Mr Watve and Mr Joshi added.
 
They also explained in details about what a homebuyer needs to check while buying a new property. Besides location, accessibility of the property, one needs to check the reputation of the builder as well as contractor, consultant and architects as well. “Some people, while buying a property, look for additional floor space index (FSI) so that floors can be added. However, before checking on the FSI, the buyer needs to check if the building foundation is designed for such additional floor load,” they said.
 
Mr Watve and Mr Joshi, said, “While buying a new home, let’s look for quality in construction materials (steel and concrete), approved electrical wiring, internal piping (GI– class C), quality waterproofing with warranty, anti-termite treatment in foundations, and anti-corrosion systems, which will give you a peace of mind.”
 
Prakash Deshmukh, the immediate past President of Indian Institute of Architects (IIA), and Director of Associated Space Designers Pvt Ltd explained the audience about "Maintenance and Safety of the Built Environment". 
 
Mr Deshmukh, who is widely acclaimed for eco-friendly townships like Magarpatta City and Nanded City in Pune, said there is general lack of public awareness about built environment in India. Built environment refers to the human-made surroundings that accommodate human activities in the buildings and its surroundings including their supporting infrastructure, such as water supply, energy networks, fire safety, security and health. 
 
“Buyers are not aware about these things and to create awareness on built environment, education will play a most important role. When you buy a car, the manufacturer provides you with a manual. However, when you buy a home worth lakhs of rupees, there is no such thing given by the developer. Therefore, maintenance manual should be made mandatory with every project,” he added.
 
Talking about smart cities, Mr Deshmukh said, “The city also should be a liveable place and provide safety and security for all residents. This is lacking in most of our cities today.” 
 
“Poorly maintained buildings provide dangerous living conditions. Because of serious ignorance about the maintenance of buildings and built environment, it results into sick building syndrome (SBS). The SBS is nothing but a situation in which the occupants of a building, experience acute health- or comfort-related effects which seem to be linked directly to the time spent in the building.”
 
Talking about causes for the SBS, Mr Deshmukh said, poor maintenance of building elements such as leakage of water though ceilings and walls, poor indoor air quality due to lack of adequate natural ventilation, poor hygiene and cleanliness indoors as well as outdoors and poor day lighting resulting in growth of bacteria and anaerobic conditions leads to sick building syndrome.   
 
He said, “Building audit should be carried out on a regular basis to ensure the safety, security and health of the buildings. Each project should have a maintenance manual. Based on the audit there should be action program for maintenance. In addition, structural audit must be carried out periodically and effective measures should be adopted for structural safety. Similarly, painting shall be done on regular basis along with the surface plaster coating. Preventive maintenance of building services should also be carried out regularly.”
 
“Maintaining the safety, security and liveability of our buildings and built environment is in our hands. Let us do it,” he concluded.

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