A total lockdown has been in effect in India since the 22nd of March 2020. This was declared to help contain the spread of the novel Corona virus. The cyclone Nisarga hit the west coast of the state of Maharashtra yesterday [3rd June 2020] evening. Thank God, the cyclone did not cause any damage in the city of Mumbai.
This picture was taken yesterday, the 3rd of June 2020 from my window in North Mumbai.
There are some very important things that I would like you to notice here.
Never before in Mumbai has the horizon been so transparent and pure. The setting sun is seen so clearly. It is so bright and the air is transparent, as it ought to be.
Before the lockdown, Mumbai, as with many other large urban cities, had a brown haze which extended up for thousands of feet from the ground. Aviation experts were well aware of this phenomenon. This is called the Asian brown cloud.
The Asian brown cloud is created by a range of airborne particles and pollutants from combustion (e.g., woodfires, cars, and factories), biomass burning and industrial processes with incomplete burning. The cloud is associated with the winter monsoon (November/December to April) during which there is no rain to wash pollutants from the air.
One major impact is on health. A 2002 study indicated nearly two million people die each year, in Asia alone, from conditions related to the brown cloud.
The effect of the lock down has been dramatic in reducing this pollutuon. The health benefits of this will be seen for years in the future.
Data from the pollution control board documents this huge reduction in atmospheric pollution across Maharashtra.
This certainly shows that the lock down has helped to improve the air and help the earth to recover from the effects of man made pollution. One needs to question why we need to pollute the earth in our frenzied desire to grab more and more unwanted junk into our lives.
Sunsets of exceptional beauty are possible when we stop pollutiing the earth to feed mindless consumerism.
I hope we will learn to live by respecting nature in the future. The lessons learnt during the lockdown and the Corona pandemic should always be remembered. Let our needs be simple and few. Let us treasure people and use things, instead of the other way around as it was before the lockdown, I pray.
We are called to be good stewards ot this planet. God has kept us as tenants on this earth. Let us align our lives to His to enjoy life in all its abundance.
I am sharing something very urgent and hope this will spur the administration to take action that is essential and yet difficult: Our Hospital is seeing many cases of Corona [COVID-19] as we are located close to several hotspots in Dahisar East in North Mumbai.
The majority of these cases are from chawls and slums where there are common toilet facilities. People are leaving these hotspots en masse as of today.
My suggestion [echoed by many field workers on the ground] is to make use of this time to convert all those residential areas having common toilets [mainly slums and chawls] into housing units with attached toilet facilities in a legally demarcated land use as per the Development Plan.
Don’t these people deserve a life of dignity and clean, healthy living conditions? And considering the changed socio-economic scenario post-COVID-19, I feel hygiene and safety will remain our top priority. Mumbai is the commercial capital of Mumbai. Our residents surely deserve this!
How can this be done practically, you may well ask. Modular units can be built and shipped. Some friends suggested that we use Cargo Containers. Homes with toilet and water facilities can be built in a few days or weeks.
Beautiful houses can be constructed, complete with attached toilets. Not just two or three floors high!
I am sure innovative civil engineers and entrepreneurs will chip in and suggest even better alternatives than these.
It will take coordination from the local leaders, politicians, police, army, and civil engineering teams. It will be costly and disruptive.
Tackling the root of the problem takes courage. But we have to make use of this opportunity if we wish to really recover from this Corona Pandemic and prevent even more catastrophic pandemics in the future.
Praying that God would give us wisdom and courage to do what is required, in a time like this. Jai Hind.
The Corona pandemic has brought about a global lock down never seen in recent times. Those who are unaware of how fearfully and wonderfully their bodies are made are now full of fear. Many try out any remedy to improve their immunity and somehow protect themselves from this Corona virus.
As a Medical Doctor, I felt it is important to address this issue with facts, that can avoid you inadvertently causing more harm than good. Your body is complex and superbly designed. There are many defense mechanisms constantly at work in your body to protect you from viruses. Medical and Biological sciences are discovering newer ones even as this is being written.
I will give a short summary of the wonderful way in which our defense mechanisms have been designed. Designs always point out to a designer, whom I have had the privilege of knowing personally. I hope that you will understand the love that the Lord God your Designer and Creator has for you. I also hope that none of you would ever think that such sophisticated defense mechanisms just came about by mindless,random accidents of the so-called evolution process, as many would love to believe.
I hope this awareness of the facts will also reduce your fear and anxiety against the Corona virus. This virus does not have eyes, wings, hands, or feet. It is just a piece of RNA code encoded by a fatty membrane. I sincerely hope that your fear will be replaced by faith, trust, and hope.
This does not mean the virus is harmless, and you should not have a false sense of confidence in your own ability to withstand this virus. What I mean by is faith, trust and hope in the God who made you, which I hope will develop or increase as you read this.
I have taken the scientific material mainly from the latest edition of Harrisons Principles of Internal Medicine, known globally as the Bible of Internal Medicine. which every student of modern medicine will know.
The way in which God has designed our bodies, our immune systems, are to be seen to be believed. The details mentioned below are technical, but I am sure you will learn to trust in God and cultivate a heart of gratitude to our Lord, which will make your immune systems in turn work optimally. Science has confirmed that fear and anxiety damage the potential of your immune system to work to its full capability 1, and I believe that peace, love, and forgiveness are keys to healing.
Here are some of the amazing ways known so far to Science of how our defense mechanisms help us to fight viral infections.
HUMAN BODY’S RESISTANCE TO VIRAL INFECTIONS
Physical defense mechanisms: Resistance to viral infections is initially provided by physical factors that are not virus specific. Physical protection is afforded by the many layers of the skin and by mucous secretions that continuously sweep over mucosal surfaces. So, it is important to maintain the integrity of these surfaces by drinking enough water.
Blood borne defenses: Blood actively maintains life by providing a vital function for all cells, tissues, and organs, and thus the life of the whole body 2. So says Leviticus 17:11. Science is discovering the astonishing variety of defense and offense mechanisms present in our blood. Our Immune systems are indeed very cleverly designed.
Here are the main ones.
Cytokines: As soon as the first cell is infected, cytokines are induced. These are substances, such as interferon IFN, interleukin, and growth factors, which are secreted by certain cells of the immune system and confer resistance to RNA virus replication.
Viral infection may also trigger the release of other cytokines from infected cells. These cytokines attract inflammatory and immune cells.
The cellular army: Viral protein epitopes seen on the human cell surface stimulate the expansion of Killer T lymphocyte populations with receptors that can recognize these virus-encoded peptides presented on the cell surface by MHC class I proteins. These Killer T cells are among an elite warrior group roaming in your body.
A cytotoxic T cell (also known as TC, cytotoxic T lymphocyte, CTL, T-killer cell, cytolytic T cell, CD8+ T-cell or killer T cell) is a T lymphocyte (a type of white blood cell) that kills cancer cells, cells that are infected (particularly with viruses), or cells that are damaged in other ways. Cytokines and antigens released by virus-induced cell death further attract inflammatory cells, dendritic cells, granulocytes, natural killer (NK) cells, and B lymphocytes to sites of infection and to draining lymph nodes. IFNs and NK cells are particularly important in containing viral infection for the first several days. Special White blood cells called Granulocytes and macrophages are also important in the phagocytosis [eating up] and degradation of viruses, especially after an initial antibody response.
By 7–10 days after infection, virus-specific antibody responses, virus-specific human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II–restricted CD4+ helper T lymphocyte responses, and virus-specific HLA class I–restricted CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses develop. These responses, whose magnitude typically increases over the second and third weeks of infection, are important for rapid recovery.
Antibodies and Complement: In the initial days, a powerful Immunoglobulin M IgM antibody is secreted glandular-associated B cells. The process is almost magical. Following viral antigen stimulation, IgM-producing plasma cells migrate from the lymph node to bone marrow, where they become long-lived plasma cells. A 5- to 10-day lag time occurs before IgM antibodies appear in blood, and peak IgM levels occur at 21 days. Between the second and third weeks after the first infection other even more powerful IgG or IgA antibodies can then be detected at infected mucosal surfaces. Antibody may directly neutralize virus by binding to its surface and preventing cell attachment or penetration. Complement can significantly enhance antibody-mediated virus neutralization.
Antibody and complement can also dissolve virus-infected cells that display viral membrane proteins on the cell surface.
Cells infected with a replicating enveloped virus usually show the virus-envelope glycoproteins on the cell plasma membrane. Specific antibodies can bind to the glycoproteins, fix complement, and lyse the infected cell.
Surveillance to prevent recurrence: Once our Immune system is activated, it never forgets! Antibody and CD4+/CD8+ T lymphocyte [white blood cells] responses to viral infection can remain at high levels for several months after primary infection but usually wane over time.
Low-level persistence of antibody-producing B lymphocytes and CD4+ or CD8+ T lymphocyte responses as memory cells can provide a rapid response to a second infection or an early barrier to reinfection with the same virus.
God has given you an entire army with diverse defense and offense mechanisms that protect you.. You can choose to fear a virus, or you can choose to trust God.
It is your choice always, for God has also given you free will. By faith we understand that the universe has been created by a word from God so that the visible came into existence from the invisible.
Gratitude to God is an attitude that can also work wonders for your immune system. Peace and joy and other such emotions are the result of knowing this truth, which sets us all free.
Make sure that you follow the guidelines issued by the local health authorities. I wish that you and your family stay safe, healthy, and happy.
Wonder why the environment is changing? Why pollution is increasing? Why the weather is fluctuating? Climate change is seen everywhere. Rains at unseasonal months. Rising temperatures.
It’s as if the world is reacting to something.
The land is protesting.
Why? What is going on?
As I was reading today I got a glimpse of what could be the cause.
It was the sin of people with free will, especially in matters related to sex. The abandonment of boundaries set in nature by their Creator.
There are several verses detailing the abhorrent sexual practices of the natives of Canaan and Egypt.
“Don’t have sex with a close relative. I am God . “Don’t violate your father by having sex with your mother. She is your mother. Don’t have sex with her. Etc Leviticus 18:6-18 MSG https://bible.com/bible/97/lev.18.6-7.MSG
God spoke to Moses: “Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them, I am God , your God. Don’t live like the people of Egypt where you used to live, and don’t live like the people of Canaan where I’m bringing you. Don’t do what they do. Obey my laws and live by my decrees. I am your God . Keep my decrees and laws: The person who obeys them lives by them. I am God . Leviticus 18:1- 16 MSG
“Don’t pollute yourself in any of these ways. This is how the nations became polluted, the ones that I am going to drive out of the land before you. Even the land itself became polluted and I punished it for its iniquities—the land vomited up its inhabitants.
This is written in the old Testament.
You must keep my decrees and laws—natives and foreigners both. You must not do any of these abhorrent things. The people who lived in this land before you arrived did all these things and polluted the land. And if you pollute it, the land will vomit you up just as it vomited up the nations that preceded you. Leviticus 18:24-28
We see this happening even now.
God created sex. It’s for us to enjoy. People pervert sex for their own reasons.
Anything good that becomes perverted causes destruction. And nature will change. The land becomes polluted.
Probably the answer to climate change could be very different from what people are looking at. It’s not just about trying to reduce fossil fuel burning. It could mean examining your own heart. In matters related to vital areas of your life.
Here is how I set up a voice-controlled Cinema experience, without any ads, for less than 400 dollars.
Before we start, there are certain prerequisites which I assume most people have at their home anyway:
Electricity, Wifi, A wall to project on and a smartphone.
If you are ready with the above, let’s start
First of all, get a Google Home Mini,
I like it here. This should not cost you more than 60 $. There are other products available, like Amazon Alexa etc, but I personally prefer the Google home.
Next, I recommend you buy a projector.
You can get good ones at unbelievable prices here. You can get good ones for less than 150 $. But if you already have a TV which can take HDMI input, then you could still continue to use that, but to experience true theatre, you know that size does matter!
Now to connect the two the best option is the Google Chromecast.
There are several options to buy it from, like the Google store or Flipkart, to name a few. Cost? less than 70 $! Ofcourse there are other options out there, but they may not work easily with the Google Home.
So now we have the vital components ready, and we have spent hardly 280$. What do you do with the rest of the money you may well ask since I gave you a budget of 400 $.
Well, we will come to that!
But first things first…
So how do we set up this home theatre?
It is really simple.
Just two steps! Yeah, that’s right!
Step 1: Welcoming Mini to your home: Install the Google Home app on your phone, connect to the home wifi network, power on the Google Home Mini and add it to your Google Home app. Here is help on how to do it. Give the mini a name.
For setting it up, power it on after you connect it to the HDMI port of the Projector, or TV, and follow the on-screen instructions.
Your Google Home app will help you to link all three together.
Now comes the extra bits: You can take a Netflix account or Amazon Prime. Netflix will cost around 20$ per month. Amazon prime costs around 14 $ per year! The advantage here is that Netflix plays directly by voice on to the cast via Google Home. Just say, Ok Google, play Sherlock from Netflix and viola!
Of course, if you want to cast from your mobile device to the projector you do not even need the Google Mini, but that is not what your smartphone would ideally be doing for hours together!
Another vital bit of hardware you would now need are good speakers. Projectors have audio out which you can connect to your home theatre sound system, or to a good portable speaker.
Well, there is something terribly wrong. And the medical community has just realised the deadly problem.
For the first time in 10 years, the World Health Organization has released a new edition of its International Classification of Diseases in July 2018. ICD-11 is the first to be fully electronic, and it has 55,000 codes compared with the 14,400 in ICD-10.
There’s a new chapter on traditional medicine as well as a new chapter on sexual
health. The diagnosis known as “gender incongruence” was moved from the mental
health category into the new sexual health chapter as a way of destigmatizing this
Another change is the new diagnosis “gaming disorder.” It comes under the umbrella of addictive disorders. It’s defined as impaired control over digital or video gaming for at least a year, leading to adverse effects on personal health and overall function, [where] gaming takes priority over usual activities, like sleeping, eating, working, or socializing.
The WHO includes the following criteria for gaming disorder in the ICD-11
• impaired control over gaming;
• gaming taking precedence over other interests and daily activities;
• the continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative
• gaming being severe enough to result in significant impairment in personal,
family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of functioning; and
• evidence of problem behaviors of at least 12 months’ duration.
On this last point, there is “flexibility, given clinical data that suggest that this may occur more rapidly in some individuals.
Potenza argued that problematic gaming has a biological basis. He referred to brain
imaging data indicating that problematic gaming is associated with decreases in resting state functional connectivity in executive control networks and is linked to negative cognitive control performance on the Stroop Task.
Other studies have shown that a craving behavioral intervention not only decreased
Internet addiction scores and gaming times but also increased cue-induced insula
activation and decreased connectivity between the insula and some brain regions, such as the precuneus, that have been implicated in cravings.
Potenza and colleagues consequently proposed a theoretical model of Internet gaming disorder in which specific targets share similarities with those for substance use disorders and behavioral addictions, such as pathologic gambling.
Therefore, Weinstein turned to the criteria for the diagnosis of behavioral addiction set
out by Mark B. Griffiths, PhD, and colleagues, which focus on the following:
• Mood modification,
• Adverse consequences, and
• Repeated attempts to quit, followed by relapse.
He said that salience means that the activity becomes the most important activity in
their life and dominates their thinking, feelings, and behavior.
Similarly, mood modification, which is the subjective experience that people report as a result of engaging in the activity, is seen with both disorders. Problem Internet users say that they feel aroused or enter into a “flow” whereby they lose a sense of time and place,
Tolerance, in which greater exposure is required to achieve the same effect, is also
found in both conditions, as is withdrawal. In Internet gaming disorder, withdrawal
includes anger, tension, and/or depression;
Weinstein said that, on the basis of brain imaging studies, the neural mechanisms that
underlie Internet gaming disorder appear similar to those seen in drug addiction.
These include structural changes related to gray matter volume in regions linked to
attention, motor coordination, executive function, and perception.
Internet gaming disorder is associated with lower white matter density in brain regions
linked to decision making, behavioral inhibition, and emotional regulation, as well as alterations in the ventral striatum. Video game playing is associated with dopamine
release at levels similar to those seen in drug abuse.
Internet gaming disorder is associated with depression, anxiety, attention-deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and alcohol use, as well as personality disorders in
Science, Medical science does not have any answers, any solutions.
The best that they can come up with are some medicines.
What we feared has come true. Our kids are hopelessly addicted.
A recent study (November 2018) of over 40000 kids showed the effects of mobile use.
Children’s psychological well-being starts to deteriorate after an average 1 hour of screen viewing per day, according to a study of more than 40,000 children aged 2 to 1 years.
More hours of screen time are associated with lower well-being in ages 2 to 17.
High users show less curiosity, self-control, and emotional stability
more difficulty making friends,
and being more difficult to care for.
The word of God calls this addiction by another name, idolatry. When we turn to a created thing to give us something that only the living triune God can give us, it invariably destroys us.
Yes, we want our idols to be removed, but we need to replace them with the real thing! Whatever we seek for in these games at our on the screen, seem to deliver it for some time but the price we end up paying is beyond imagination.
The only answer, I believe, is accepting the unconditional love of God, who in Christ the sinless man, died for the sin and shame of our sin., with the power of the Holy Spirit.
When God is on the throne of our hearts, all other things take their rightful place. The mobile and the internet can become powerful tools for achieving our God given potential and purpose, when we know where to keep them. All these inventions and things are great tools and slaves for us, but the moment they become our master, they will destroy us.