Saturday, October 11, 2008

An ecosystem of my own

As I was ascending the steps to my room today, I noticed something almost...heartwarming.

I have missed two trash days in succession. Consequently, I had tonnes of rubbish at home which had begun to attract the attention of flies. In an attempt to avoid being busted by health and safety officers, I moved the rubbish bags outside and kept them on the landing of the stairs. The stairs overlook the garden. I did this three days ago.

Today, I noticed a spider web adjacent to the rubbish bags (it is indicated by the arrowin the picture to the left). It struck me that I had created an awesome bait for the spiders. Sensing the trash bags, some moronic fly would probably zoom towards it. Unfortunately for it, his velocity would be abruptly brought down to zero by the subtly woven spider web between the two bars of the railing right in front of the garbage. The aftermath needn't be mentioned.

I must say, however, that I did that old spider a bit of a favour when I put the rubbish out. To me, this is another instance of the chaos theory; I hadn't even dreamed that I'd create a sort of micro-ecosystem through my simple act of putting the garbage out. I love the complexity of our world.

Hmm...I don't suppose my actions were particularly heart warming for the moronic flies, though.

Indian Genomic Variation Database

The government of India is doing something really fantastic for once. You can see it yourself at

Basically, they're mapping genes of pharmacological and medical significance and keeping track of the different haplotypes and Single NucleotidePolymorphisms (SNPs) in the Indian population. They find pretty vital things about the population's response to drugs. For example, they found that 13% of the North Indian population is unresponsive to 30 of the major drugs used by doctors.

Such discoveries could pave the path to tailor-made treatments and should, probably, lower the medical expenses for the Indian people. Obviously, if they know that they're resistant to a particular expensive drug, they won't waste their time and money trying it out in ignorance.

This project shall have an impact on things ranging from Asthma to Malaria. I'm really quite excited by this. For some reason, I used to harbour the idea that molecular biology doesn't have much of an application in improving rural health in India. I suppose I'll have to rethink my beliefs now.