The observable examined

Archive for May 2011

Five minute shower

leave a comment »

I have to admit I was prone to taking longer showers.  Not any more. Thanks to an effective behavior modification tool my daughter brought home from school.  As part of their education, the kids were made aware that water is a very precious resource.  They were given a pamphlet with water facts and a shower timer, to bring home.

I tried the five minute shower the next day and it was very clear that five minutes is a long (read ample) time in the shower to thoroughly cleanse yourself. I have been using it ever since. In addition to feeling fresh, I now take pride in the fact that this small behavior modification on my part is saving as much as 20 gallons of water per day. 

I urge each one of you who may chance upon this blog to do the same. In our water district, they are offering free conservation devices. I am sure they do the same wherever you live. This small behavioral change, individually, can collectively make a huge difference!! Try it, adopt it, spread the word.


Written by asterix98

May 18, 2011 at 4:16 am

Fiftieth blog:Mother’s day

with one comment

This is my fiftieth blog post! Today is Mother’s day. Happy Mother’s day Lechi. I had not planned it like this. It just happened to be.

I also want to take a moment to thank my mom (Manni, thank you so much) and my mother-in-law(Mami, many thanks) for their tireless support.

The raison de etre for this blog is my wife’s passing from this world. As I have noted in the about page, its main intent was to serve as an outlet for my grief, and of others who knew her. Others have not been as forthcoming, for whatever reason. No matter. For me writing this blog has been cathartic. Immensely therapeutic. Through it, I have also discovered the joy, of writing, of conveying feelings, and more importantly, of dwelling on our shared life, of discovering how little had been said between us and how much more could have been, of what motherhood means (through the lens of my daughter).

We are rapidly coming up on the first anniversary (how time flies!) and the intervening months have been an intense roller coaster ride. At the best of times, it has been in the enjoyment of happy memories of us as a family. At the worst of times, it is reliving the nightmare of intense pain and suffering that Lechi had to endure before it finally consumed her. For Mahati, my daughter, likewise it has been remembering the good times with mom and the incredible void of missing her comfortable bosom in times of vulnerability. Both of us have learned to cope, in our own way, with these intense emotional undulations (and over time the amplitude is also slowly diminishing). [My daughter leans on me for emotional support, but deep within me, I know I am not able to provide in full measure what she is looking for. I am still working on it]. Nevertheless, there are environmental triggers that still sets us off emotionally. Just this morning, I was at a dance rehearsal, photographing/video taping it. It must have been the emotional tone of the songs, I was fighting back tears as I held the camera up to my face. I know it is on Mahati’s mind too. Recently, she told me, don’t remind me of the dates July 31, Aug 1 and Aug 2. These are very sad days…..

Sometimes, the road ahead seems very long and lonely. But then I know it is a journey that has to be made, a la Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, because I am responsible for our beautiful joint legacy:Mahati.

In my more rational moments, I have wondered, what is the nature of the grief that we experience when we lose someone very near and dear. I think it is a brain system involving the prefrontal cortex (part of the brain heavily implicated in simulating scenarios and predicting outcomes), mirror neurons, empathy(insula,amygdala), and a broken feedback control loop (an open loop system essentially). For the surviving partner, depending on the intensity and duration of the partner’s trauma, there is potential for the equivalent of post-traumatic stress disorder(much like what the soldiers experience) to manifest itself. This is work in progress. I hope to write about this in more detail in a future blog.

What I have realized, and shared with my grief counseling group is this, we get used to the loss of the loved one but never really get over it. Their absence is always present.

Written by asterix98

May 9, 2011 at 7:18 am

Through the looking glass

leave a comment »

I attended a half-day seminar at UC Berkeley, this past Thursday. The seminar is part of the i4Science lecture series.

The link will take you to a detailed presentation of what they are about. In a nutshell, they are taking on simulation and modeling problems (climate, systems neuroscience, combustion, etc.,) that are very compute intensive. They are working with massive number of processors and coming up with innovative algorithms to address the computing and data modeling challenges.

These are such fascinating times to be a student. Exciting opportunities abound. I encourage students looking to make an impact on science and society to visit the link below


One of the lectures was by Jim Spohrer. If you click on the name it will take you to his presentations on Slideshare.net. He has been a tireless evangelist for a new discipline called Service Science, which is basically about harnessing Information and Communications Technology(ICT) for improving people’s lives. I urge you to take a look at his presentations.

There were many interesting tidbits of information. The one I got most excited about is this vision of the future video from Corning. For a technophile like me, this is the sort of thing that produces an intense cognitive rush. Absolutely brilliant/breathtaking stuff.

Written by asterix98

May 7, 2011 at 9:12 pm

%d bloggers like this: