A child likes to move from one direction to another to grab the things which are scattered on the floor. The toddler’s moves depend upon the attraction of the object. The attraction of one thing wanes when the child sees a more attractive object. This process goes on and on still the child becomes tired.
Recently, one of my young friends was part of a team that conducted a conference on Radiotherapy. They had designed a logo which portrayed a crab that was partially trapped within an atom. With great curiosity I asked him to decipher its meaning. He explained that the crab signified cancer which can spread in all directions and destroy the body. However the atom symbolized the radiation treatment which was a powerful tool in destroying cancer cells. The logo showed that the battle of the crab and the atom was an ongoing struggle and more and more innovative techniques were being developed to the defeat cancer.
Many Christian believers are also like the crab, moving aimlessly in different directions for different types of ministry and churches depending upon their likes and dislikes. Several crab Christians never prosper and never really allow others to prosper too.
In our Christian life, God uses each and every one according to our abilities and talents. As a Christian, we have to find out His will and Purpose for our life and move towards the goal. Otherwise we too will be like a Crab without any proper aim.
Let us refer two passages to understand the clear direction of a Christian’s life.
I. Focus on Primary Aspect (Acts. 6:1-7)
During the apostles’ period, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. These types of complaints and criticism are the part and parcel of the ministry. It is better to use the criticism and complaints as a tool for development of the ministry instead of going into a depressive mood.
The disciples analyzed the complaints from different angles and brought out a beautiful solution without compromising their stand. They formed a separate group who were interested in this type of activity. They stuck on to their prime focus of preaching the Word of God. They anchored to the primary aspect of taking the Gospel to whole world which also lead them to bring the Gospel to India.
II. Focus on the Vital Aspects:
Battery charging is essential for cell phones, laptops and other equipment. The performance reveals the level of charging. In the same way, the level of ministry depends upon the time spent by the Christian in the presence of God.
In Luke 10th chapter, God clearly gives His expectation from the believers. He sent seventy disciples to go to the nearby village by giving them a list of instructions to follow (v.1-12). They went and returned with the joy of seeing demons submitting to them in Christ’s name. However Jesus asked them not to rejoice about the submissive demons but rejoice for their names were written in Heaven (v.17-20).
In the next verse, He explained the meaning of neighbor with a parable of The Good Samaritan. He pointed out that we are the neighbors to the person who is in need. The object of the neighbor in the question has been turned to the subject in the end of the story (v.21-37).
At last verse of the chapter, He demonstrated another significant aspect at Lazarus’ house (n the village of Bethany) where He stayed. At that time Martha who was busy cooking, expected Jesus to send Mary to help her in the kitchen. In response, Jesus told her that preparing meals or doing many things was not the vital stuff. The most vital aspect was that Mary had chosen to spend time at the feet of God.
Luke 10 starts with the sending of the missionaries and ends with the central theme of spending time with God. Without His presence the ministry and minister are in vain.
Let us focus on our calling and the vital aspect of spending time with God. Thereby we will not end up as C(G)rab Christians.
Humans married to pups, to ward off evil
Tuesday February 19 2008 00:00 IST
KULUPDANGA: Three boys and two girls were married to puppies in the superstition that it would ward off evil at this remote tribal-dominated village in Jharkhand’s Saraikela-Kharswan district on Monday.
Salu Banra, the mother of one of the girls, 15-year-old Puspa, a student of class seven in a government school said, “this is a custom. We set the puppy free after the marriage.”
The upper tooth appearing in either a girl or a boy is considered inauspicious by the Ho tribe which lives in this village. “Marriage to puppies of the opposite gender gets rid of the evil,” said some of the other villagers.
They said that six marriages between puppies and boys and girls had taken place on Sunday. The pup-human marriage takes place on only two days in a year – the second and third of the month of Maghe. Today was the third of Maghe.
Full grown dogs are not used in the marriages but puppies which are called ‘pida panda’ (one who drives away evil). All rituals and customs of a tribal marriage takes place with a priest officiating and guests invited, entertained by songs and dances, the villagers told a PTI correspondent.
Dowry in cash is sought and given. The bride is also given new clothes to wear. Only in case of smearing of sindur (vermillion), it is applied not to the puppies or humans but to a tree known locally as ‘renge banam’.
When contacted, SDO Dinesh Prasad said, “this is a tradition. As long as they don’t disturb others, we don’t interfere.” An elderly woman belonging to the Ho community, Laxmi Kalundia, said such marriages also demonstrated the fondness for pets and nature.
“Only pet dogs are preferable in such marriages,” she said. The marriage to pups also did not hinder the real marriage in future, she said as husbands and wives accepted this as a part of tribal custom.
The 15-year-old bride said she was happy and hoped to lead a peaceful life free from evil.
Now, emission-free cars a step closer to reality
Sun, Feb 17 12:10 PM
Washington, Feb 17 (ANI): A new strategy developed by researchers at Georgia Tech (US) to capture, store and eventually recycle carbon from vehicles, could lead to emission-free cars in the near future. This new method prevents the harmful pollutant carbon from finding its way from a car tailpipe into the atmosphere.
Though technologies to capture carbon dioxide emissions from large-scale sources such as power plants have recently gained some impressive scientific ground, nearly two-thirds of global carbon emissions are created by much smaller polluters like automobiles, transportation vehicles and distributed industrial power generation applications.
Now, the team at Georgia Tech have set for themselves the goal to create a sustainable transportation system that uses a liquid fuel and traps the carbon emission in the vehicle for later processing at a fueling station.
The carbon would then be shuttled back to a processing plant where it could be transformed into liquid fuel. Currently, Georgia Tech researchers are developing a fuel-processing device to separate the carbon and store it in the vehicle in liquid form.
“Presently, we have an unsustainable carbon-based economy with several severe limitations, including a limited supply of fossil fuels, high cost and carbon dioxide pollution,” said Andrei Fedorov, associate professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech and a lead researcher on the project.
“We wanted to create a practical and sustainable energy strategy for automobiles that could solve each of those limitations, eventually using renewable energy sources and in an environmentally conscious way,” he added.
Though little research has been done to explore carbon capture from vehicles, the Georgia Tech team outlines an economically feasible strategy for processing fossil or synthetic, carbon-containing liquid fuels that allows for the capture and recycling of carbon at the point of emission.
In the long term, this strategy would enable the development of a sustainable transportation system with no carbon emission. (ANI)
Online network of ‘suicide gurus’ exposed
Monday February 18 2008 00:02 IST
LONDON: A network of “suicide gurus” who use the Internet to advise people how to kill themselves has been exposed.
They are blamed for prompting depressed and vulnerable youngsters to take their own lives. One, an American satanist who boasts of writing a guide to the subject, says: “What’s the problem with ending your life via suicide?” Another is a “pro-choice” Dutch writer whose website includes detailed accounts of dozens of suicide methods. Campaigners have uncovered 29 “Internet suicides” in Britain since 2001, including two new cases reported this weekend.
The findings follow the cluster of suicides among young people in Bridgend, where a coroner is now re-examining nine deaths on top of 16 suspected suicides under investigation. It emerged on Friday that another two young people from the Welsh town had been found hanged. Nathaniel Pritchard, 15, and his cousin Kelly Stephenson, 20, were both members of a social networking website.
Among the most notorious suicide websites, which The Sunday Telegraph has decided not to name to avoid encouraging their use, are two discussion forums, or “chatrooms”, in which users offer advice on how to end one’s life.
In some cases, people with suicidal feelings have been encouraged to take their own lives rather than to seek professional advice. In a posting on one of the sites last week, a desperate user wanting to know how to hang himself was directed, by another correspondent, to a website containing drawings of knots and nooses.
Internet service providers and search engines like Google and Yahoo say they cannot block these websites and forums unless they are made illegal by the government.
One of the most notorious figures on the Internet suicide scene is Nagasiva Yronwode, a self-confessed satanist who runs a shop selling occult books and charms in the small Californian town of Forestville, north of San Francisco.
Yronwode, 46, describes himself as the “outreach director” for an extremist cult called the Church of Euthanasia, which advocates suicide as a means of saving the world from the effects of overpopulation.
Writing under the name Boboroshi, he has edited a suicide guide, which details various methods. Yronwode’s own website contains links to online suicide discussion boards and forums.
He told this newspaper: “The guide is there to make it easier for people who opt for suicide to carry it out. The purpose of my information is empowerment for competent human beings who have an interest in ending their lives. What’s the problem with that?
“I haven’t seen any evidence that any person has acted as a result of reading the guide. But, of course, people who have an interest in ending their lives may well seek out information that relates to suicide and in some cases that leads them to end their lives.” Yronwode rejected arguments that he was responsible for the deaths of suicide victims.
“I’m not the protector of these troubled youths,” he said. “Their parents are the people who made them troubled. They are responsible for them. They should look at their living conditions, genetic features and local conditions, which might lead them to take their own lives. Everything else is a distraction.” Another person closely linked to the suicide discussion forums is Karin Spaink, 50, a Dutch former schoolteacher who became a writer in 1986 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Spaink is an advocate of the right to die and has published on her website a manual detailing 41 ways of committing suicide. The manual ends with the lyrics to the song Suicide is Painless, which featured in the 1970 film Mash.
The best-known of the suicide chatrooms is understood to have been founded more than 10 years ago by a British man, originally from Newcastle upon Tyne. At one stage he was apparently operating from a Newcastle University email address. However, there is now no trace of him.
Calle Dybedahl, a 38-year-old Swedish IT worker, later took over as editor of the site. On his personal website, Dybedahl describes himself as a witch and a member of a coven and says he has had psychiatric treatment for depression.
Of the suicide discussion forum, he says: “The most basic difference in opinion between me and those who have mailed me, telling me I’m a monster, seems to be that they think that death is an inherently bad thing, while I don’t.” He now says he has distanced himself from the site, but defends it as “socially useful”.
Dybedahl, Spaink and Yronwode deny inciting or encouraging individuals to take their own lives, but groups that work to help prevent youth suicides, such as Papyrus, a Lancashire-based charity, say their writing provides vulnerable people with instant access to graphic ways of committing suicide.
Paul Kelly, co-founder of Papyrus, whose 18-year-old son Simon killed himself after visiting a suicide website, said: “There is a growing number of parents out there who can say the Internet has played a role in the deaths of their children.
“The Internet offers factual advice which is accessible within seconds. This is particularly dangerous with young people, who often work on impulse. “People like Spaink and Yronwode are completely irresponsible. They don’t consider the consequences of their actions.”
Ivan Lewis, the Health Minister, said: “I share public concern at the impact of the Internet on vulnerable people. Working with organisations like Samaritans and Internet service providers, we need to consider whether there is more we can do together to protect them.”
In one new case uncovered by Papyrus, a girl of 13 took her own life in December after spending hours looking at websites that had details of how to commit suicide.
Her mother said she did not know that her daughter was going through such distress, or about the websites. She said: “We know now that the previous evening she accessed ‘how to suicide’ sites, and we believe that this aided her in her actions.”
In another new case, a man of 36 killed himself last year after apparently following online advice. In two further new cases, young people tried to kill themselves but failed, one ending up brain-damaged and in need of 24-hour care.
Papyrus is calling for the 1961 Suicide Act, which outlaws the promotion of suicide, to be updated to ban its promotion on websites, in line with other countries including Japan and Australia.
No one has ever been successfully prosecuted in Britain for inciting someone online to take their own life. The Ministry of Justice said it would be difficult to frame a law to ban suicide websites without also criminalising counselling services or works of fiction.
A spokeswoman said: “The mere publication on the Internet of material that assists and/or encourages suicide would not of itself be an offence of assisting suicide, because there needs to be a causative link with an actual or attempted suicide. But sites which actively encourage suicide might be committing the offence of attempting to assist suicide.”
The signs to watch for and where to turn
- Look out for signs of depression in teenagers
- Warning signs include being withdrawn and distant
- Try to communicate and make them feel comfortable by discussing their concerns
- Encourage troubled teenagers to see a GP or counsellor; offer to take them
- Listen to what they tell you and do not be judgmental
- Tell them that you love them no matter what and give them a hug
- If they won’t talk to you, encourage them to talk to a friend or sibling
- If they are living away from home, go and see them. © The Sunday Telegraph
Marriage lessons for Delhi couples
18 Feb 2008, 1722 hrs IST , Deeksha Chopra , TNN
NEW DELHI: With young marriages in the city becoming increasingly fragile, the Delhi Commission for Women, plans to start an exclusive cell where young couples will be counselled about marriage before they tie the knot.
“It has become necessary to counsel young people on the sanctity of marriage and what it takes to make a marriage work. Caught up in a competitive world, parents seem to have less and less time to counsel their children about the values of marriage. Marriages are breaking at a drop of a hat as tolerance levels among young people plummet rapidly. We want couples to be prepared about what it takes to make a marriage work,” said Barkha Singh, Chairperson of DCW.
“Many troubled young couples get married for all the wrong reasons. In the metros it becomes a necessity for both partners to work in order to run a household. It’s not just the men but also the women who need counselling before marriage. It is a good idea, especially for those going for arranged marriages with no idea about whether or not they are compatible with each other, to get some counselling before tying the knot.” It is important to get some lessons on marriage before boarding the matrimonial bandwagon. It is after all the biggest decision in any one’s life. A wrong gamble can ruin it forever.” said Singh.
Given the alarming rate at which marriages are breaking up these days, it’s a good idea to know what kind of compromise and adjustment is needed for both husband and wife to ensure their marriage works. “Parents can also bring children of marriageable age for counselling. We will be roping in a couple of NGOs for this project.” Singh added.
Girl with 4 kidneys wants to be a donor
19 Feb 2008, 0530 hrs IST , AGENCIES
The story of a three-year-old child with cancer has moved a British teenager, who recently discovered that she had four kidneys, to donate her spare organs.
Laura Moon, 18, became aware of her unusual anatomy after an ultrasound scan six months ago to investigate stomach pains following a car crash, reports the Telegraph.
Now Moon, from Whinmoor, Leeds, is considering becoming a live donor after she heard about three-year old Luke Heppenstall, who needs a new kidney. Luke is being kept alive by dialysis after both of his kidneys were removed because of cancer.
The teenager said: “I’m not exactly sure how donations work but I know that I have four kidneys and would like to help somebody like Luke if possible.”
She is now undergoing tests to see if all four kidneys are functioning, although if she is able to donate, she will not be able to chose the recipient.
Moon, who is about to start work as a customer services advisor, has two kidneys measuring 14cm and a spare set measuring 9cm, according to the doctor who discovered them. “I think if I’ve got four, I don’t need all four,” Moon said. “Why not donate if there’s someone else in need.”
Fractures treatment with stem cells?
19 Feb 2008, 0541 hrs IST , PTI
LONDON: Scientists at the Edinburgh University in the UK are close to developing a treatment which they claim will mend shattered bones or ripped cartilage using a person’s own stem cells.
According to the scientists, the “bioactive scaffold” treatment involves taking stem cells from blood or bone marrow of people with serious injuries and prompting them to grow into the type of bone or tissue needed to heal the damage. The scaffold consists of a fairly rigid mesh structure, coated or impregnated with a drug that helps the stem cells take hold — this would also mean the patient does not have to undergo surgery to harvest the cells.
“The key to success would be to get the ‘recipe’ right for encouraging the stem cells to grow in what are effectively harsh environments,” according to lead researcher Dr Brendon Noble of university’s MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine. The scientists hope that the technique — part of a £1.4 million project — will be tested in patients within a period of two years.
If the technique works properly, they believe it could also eventually have an impact on treating conditions such as osteoarthritis, thereby potentially reducing the need for hip and knee replacements.
Laser light may detect asthma
18 Feb 2008, 2012 hrs IST , ANI
WASHINGTON: A pioneering technique developed by scientists could help doctors detect respiratory diseases like asthma or cancer with a laser light.
A team at JILA, a joint institute of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado (CU) at Boulder have developed a technique called cavity-enhanced direct optical frequency comb spectroscopy that can detect molecules in the breath that may be indicators for diseases.
“This technique can give a broad picture of many different molecules in the breath all at once,” said Jun Ye, lead researcher.
While breathing we inhale a complex mixture of gasses including nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapour and also some traces of carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and methane that are potential biomarkers of disease.
The team led by Jun Ye, fellow of JILA, a fellow of NIST and a professor adjoint at CU-Boulder’s Department of Physics analysed the breath of several student volunteers with the help of optical frequency comb spectroscopy.
They showed that they could detect traces of gasses like ammonia, carbon monoxide, and methane on their breath and also detected carbon monoxide in a student smoker that was five times higher.
The students had to breathe into an optical cavity, a space between two standing mirrors. The optical cavity was designed so that when they aimed a pulsed laser light into it, the light bounced back and forth so many times that it covered a distance of several kilometres by the time it left the cavity.
This essentially allowed the light to sample the entire volume of the cavity, striking all the molecules therein. They compared the light coming in and going out of the cavity and detected the molecules present in the breath from the start.
Scientists believe that while the technique is yet to be evaluated in clinical trials, monitoring the breath for such biomarkers is an attractive approach to medicine because breath analysis is the ultimate non-invasive and low-cost procedure.