Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mind the present

Some of the world’s most spectacular natural vistas are found in very inhospitable places. The scorching heat deep in the Sahara desert, the thin air in the towering Himalayan mountains, and the bitter cold of the Antarctic ice shelves can test the limits of human endurance. However, those brave enough to battle the extreme elements in such places are often rewarded with awe-inspiring sights. Imagine sailing in the southern oceans, in the wild waters off the Antarctic coastline, where ice cliffs loom large as you approach the frozen continent. Stepping off the boat, onto the cold, white landscape, you climb a ridge that takes you to the top of an ice shelf that is protruding out into the sea. As you reach the edge of this icy outcrop, there is a cliff face with a sheer drop of several hundred meters to the sea below. The landscape ahead appears frozen in time, and at that instant you are a witness to a single snapshot of an ongoing process that is millions of years in the making, and will continue on long after many future generations of humans have come and gone. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Keeping a Healthy Heart and Circulation

Based on a talk given to a consulting group in Chennai, India on Sept 1, 2011

Hydrocarbons such as oil are very important for keeping the engines of any economy going. In 2009, the average daily consumption of oil for a large country such as India was about 2.9 million barrels. Just as crucial as uninterrupted supply of oil is to the world economy today, a healthy and normal blood circulation is important to the human body. Keeping this in perspective, an average human heart would have pumped approximately 1.1 million barrels of blood during the entire lifespan of a person living to the age of 80. This is quite remarkable considering the that the heart is approximately the size of one’s fist.