Friday, 27 May 2011

Human Balloon

            Today was day 2 of the workshop and the talks were a little different which was interesting.  The morning talk was by a biologist from the University of Delhi who won awards by all three of India’s science academies.  He talked about communication between mammals, which seemed to be a review of high school biology hormones, cell receptors, endocrine system, etcetera but he had some interesting interdisciplinary connections.  He mentioned how the existence of life seems to violate the third law of thermodynamics and went to describe biological processes in terms of steady-state equilibrium situations.  One of the highlights for me was a slide from a UCONN study so when I enjoyed the acknowledgement of Farmington, CT, as a hometown shout-out.  The afternoon was more labs with sensors then the closing talking was a talk and demonstration about “Fingerprinting: how to catch a thief.  They just started a joint program between a college in Canada and Delhi University to offer DU’s first degree program in forensic science.  Apparently, only 3% of Indian crime cases are solved using forensic techniques.  Just another example of how far India still has to go- I don’t know what percentage of cases are solved with forensic techniques in the US but I know I took forensic science in high school.
            I did learn more about the BEd program and what school days and science classes are like but they seem relatively similar to the US- seven 40-minute periods and a couple of labs a week.
            However one of my daily highlights is reading the Times of India and the Hindustan Times.  Those newspapers never fail to make me laugh.  Today, there was an article on the second page about an intoxicated man who insisted on going through the baggage-screening belt at the local airport.  They also highlighted a story from New Zealand about a truck driver who fell on the fitting of a compressed air hose, it pierced his left buttock and he started inflating like a “human balloon.”  Supposedly, he’s hospitalized because all sorts of weird things happened as the fat started separating from the muscle as he blew up but they say he’ll be ok.
            The newspapers are geering up for college admissions here, which begin mid-June so I might miss them.  It sounds like a mad-house- you bring copies of the Delhi University college application and copies of your marks on the specified day then you have to visit all the campuses with which you qualify for and drop off your applications in person.  So you don’t even know what school you’ll be going to until a couple months before you start- furthermore, you’re pretty locked into to the course of study you chose.  Sounds stressful!