Not Human

A part of my growing and hopefully, maturing :) is the realisation that we humans are really not the lord and master of this planet. We are not the pinnacle of evolution. We are not what “the universe intended”. We are basically a byproduct of the real masters of Earth, bacteria.

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As soon as we are born, bacteria move in. They stake claims in our digestive and respiratory tracts, our teeth, our skin. They establish increasingly complex communities, like a forest that gradually takes over a clearing. By the time we’re a few years old, these communities have matured, and we carry them with us, more or less, for our entire lives. Our bodies harbor 100 trillion bacterial cells, outnumbering our human cells 10 to one. It’s easy to ignore this astonishing fact.

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Researchers have largely concerned themselves with bacteria’s negative role as pathogens: The devastating effects of a handful of infectious organisms have always seemed more urgent than what has been considered a benign and relatively unimportant relationship with “good” bacteria. In the intestine, the bacterial hub of the body that teems with trillions of microbes, they have traditionally been called “commensal” organisms — literally, eating at the same table. The moniker suggests that while we’ve known for decades that gut bacteria help digestion and prevent infections, they are little more than ever-present dinner guests.

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But there’s a growing consensus among scientists that the relationship between us and our microbes is much more of a two-way street.

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They are not simply random squatters, but organized communities that evolve with us and are passed down from generation to generation. Through research that has blurred the boundary between medical and environmental microbiology, we’re beginning to understand that because the human body constitutes their environment, these microbial communities have been forced to adapt to changes in our diets, health, and lifestyle choices. Yet they, in turn, are also part of our environments, and our bodies have adapted to them. Our dinner guests, it seems, have shaped the very path of human evolution.

Read the entire article. Very enlightening.

Religious Schools

Here another stupid idea – John Tory, leader of Ontario’s PC, wants to extend public funding to private religious schools.

If not for the fact that Tory is the leader of PC, I would not vote for this guy for this reason all by itself. What a pathetically stupid idea.

I was always of the opinion that no one can get more “religious” than Indian politicians but time and time again (G. W. Bush anyone?) I have been proven wrong. The politician is not a simple minded being. The person is chosen carefully through a process known as election and is expected to lead effectively and soundly. But the likes of David Miller and Stephen Harper and Stephen Dion and, now, John Tory have shown that no matter what you do, a politician is no
different than the average person. Can we please have some real leaders, please?

More religious school? I thought the whole Idea was to keep religion separate from education here in Ontario!! So you are teaching a kid about evolution and at the same time teaching them about how the world is only a few thousand years old? Or how to put your “faith” in god and your loved one in the hospital will be healed? Or pray and declare your complete obedience to god else you will never gain Nirvana? That’s complete crap.

If a parent wants to teach a kid about bhagwat gita or jesus or allah etc. please do so but at your time and at your cost. Do not expect me to pay for brainwashing your kid. I want the kid to learn about how the solar system was created, how the moon might be a “child” of the earth, how flora on earth gives us oxygen, how the heart beats and so on. And not how krishna (a god in Indian mythology) claimed that an ideal person is the one who sometimes kills people even
if they are your brothers and sisters.

If you still want your kids to learn about the holy crap from professional teachers because you are busy earning the mighty dollar, please do so. There are numerous privately funded religious schools. Spend your dollars there and leave serious education to the public funded schools.

PS : Yes, I know there is a huge network of roman catholic school here in Ontario. I would fully back the proposal to convert the catholic schools to public schools. There is simply no need for the catholic schools (or any other religious school) in our society. Teach our kids about science and not myths.