A New Field of Medicine: Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine

From an op-ed in the Huffington Post (original text):

Movember (formerly November) is a month of reflection and recognizing the importance of men’s health issues. Of the more than 8,000 diagnosed with testicular cancer every year in the United States, the peak age group is the 20-39 year olds.

How can a 24-year-old male have testicular cancer?

Traditionally medicine has been divided into pediatrics, adult and geriatric medicine. Today the way we provide age-appropriate care is shifting with the rise of a new field of medicine focusing specifically on adolescents and young adults, age 15-39, beginning with cancer treatment.

According to the National Cancer Institute, over the past 20 years while overall survival rates for cancer have increased for all age groups, the 15-39 age group has experienced little improvement in cancer survival rates seen by older and younger peers. Variables affecting this survival plateau range from limits in access to care/clinical trials, different biology, unique psychosocial issues as well as the overall mentality of thinking one is too young to have cancer.

Recently, the Colorado Medical Society placed itself at the forefront of changing the way medicine provides care by passing Res-7A-AM11, which recognizes the importance of adolescent and young adults (AYA) with cancer, and importantly focusing on the newly-created International Charter of Rights for Young People with Cancer. Res-7A-AM11 is the first resolution supported by a collective group of physicians from diverse specialties all recognizing that any young patient of theirs — whether seeing a family doctor or pulmonologist — is at risk for cancer. Additionally, the charter recognizes the converse; that any one of their young patients may be a survivor of cancer, which can have lasting impacts on fertility, increased risk for secondary cancers or physical/mental changes. All of these concerns can and should affect the approach a physician uses to treat their young patient.

To sum up the AYA concerns expressed in the international charter, medicine needs to provide age-appropriate care and continued care. This isn’t a new concept, just one that appropriately responds to age-defined needs. Leaders such as Dr. Leonard Sender, director of the combined Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Program University of California, Irvine and CHOC Children’s Hospital, have taken the first steps in establishing the peer-reviewed Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology and complementary professional society.

In order to increase survivorship for a generation that has fallen through the gaps in medical practice, the medical community needs stronger scientific research, improvements in the way psychosocial issues are addressed and self-empowerment. The medical community needs to increase understanding of the adolescent and young adult age group and their unique risk factors for cancer. Along with continued education, clinical and epidemiological research must improve in order for the medical community to understand what makes this age group so unique.

On the patient side, the AYA community generally believes they are invincible and will not succumb to the diseases that affect “little kids and older people.” This is a myth we must unfortunately dispel. Encouraging this age group to create a sense of ownership and self advocacy can be difficult. The majority of AYAs are using social media and different forms of communication. As traditional modes of communications no longer are ideal platforms for outreach to young people, so too are traditional methods of how medical care is delivered inside and outside of the clinic. The future of empowering young people to understand their body best can come through emerging technologies that focus on improved communication between a physician and their young patients.

A health care provider’s responsibilities go beyond the clinic; they must be partners in developing age-appropriate programs in order to ensure the survival of cancer patients — particularly pediatrics and adolescents through to young adults. Just as important, there needs to be a sense of ownership from adolescent and young adult cancer patients, so that their voice is not blurred by misdiagnosis or delayed treatment. Ownership begins with patients taking control of their health and starting with the simple questions to their physicians, “Did you know there is an adolescent and young adult cancer segment called AYA?”


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The Real Superheroes are still in Comic Books…

“His comic books have captured the imagination of so many young people with superheroes who embodies the tolerance and teachings of Islam.

… Superman and Batman have reached out to their Muslim counter parts…. And I hear they are making progress too.”

- President Barak Obama, 2010

Last summer I had an opportunity to spend part it at the Columbia Business School (CBS) in NYC where I was part of the Rothschild Fellowship. During this time, I had an opportunity to meet social entrepreneurs from the UK and France,  continued fostering a passion and had an opportunity to expand my cultural and religious beliefs.

On an early New York morning we hard a guest speaker to begin our day- Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, a former CBS alumni. Here was Dr. Mutawa, dress shirt tucked into his jeans, a glowing aura of passion and only small patches of grey in his beard that would hint at his age.

Over the next couple hours Dr. Mutawa spent some time speaking to us about his creation of  the 99….. the world’s first superheroes based on Islamic culture and society.

At first I was a little hesitant. But that was quick to change. What would eventually be Dr. Mutawa’s TED Talk presentation at Oxford the following week, we were introduced to a group of superheroes that have brought a complete different identity to the Islamic world.

Dr. Mutawa’s TED Talk- must see talk on the history of the 99 and how it has evolved:

I was so thrilled to hear about this concept!

Just a few weeks ago DC comics released the first of six comics where the the Justice League of America (… Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, Aquaman…) began partnering with the 99 (…Dr. Ramzi Razem, Rughal, Widad the loving, Jami the assembler…).

It is not the first time that powerful superheroes put their egos to the side to over come evil. In fact, I remember as a kid when Marvel’s Spiderman teamed up with Strom and Beast from X-men and on a diferent occasion with the Fantastic Four.

Tonight I sat down and read the comic. Although I remember it taking me much longer to read a comic book, I was so excited that for the first time in my life, the superheroes I grew up admiring have refreshed my youth by continuing my admiration of the ability for these individuals to over come evil together.

Sounds chessy. But its not.

We may be too old to read comics, but every kid grew up on comics at some point in their life. Our childhood comic heroes are today’s Hollywood superstars. I can only hope that today’s real heroes can learn from those we look up to as kids and overcome their differences to truly appreciate the beauty that exists in all cultures and religions.

The truth is that one superhero can make a difference. A team of superheroes – with different abilities- can make an lasting impact.

To end, I wanted to show a couple quick snap photos of the first time where we see such a unique relationship between superheroes being created.

Justice League of America

Superman meets part of the 99


Introducing the 99


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Get Fat and Feel good about. Eat Rice Pudding…

First off, I am by no means a food critic because as many would know I will nearly eat anything… as well as try anything. However, what I will not deny are my sweet teeth. I heard about Rice to Rices from Sarah who told me to make a quick stop while I was in SoHo, NYC.

Naturally anything with rice gets me quite excited. I love Afghan rice (by far the best rice in the world) and of course the delicious rice pudding for dessert has always been an amazing choice (very biased opinion).

What I really liked about Rice to Riches is the very modern design in a great area of the city. The layout, the positive affirmations and the various selections allow for anyone to feel good about eating rice pudding. The best part of this concept was the uniqueness of finding a niche dessert and popularizing it. I expect nothing less when I visit NYC. I did sample many of the flavors, which made me quite full before even getting to my own dish. There were some solid flavors (pictures below). Choices of topings were nice, but I am an old school guy who likes his rice puddings plain.

I definitely recommend to get a solo and split it with a friend. However, if you are like me, then get a solo, eat part of it and save the rest for later that night or the next day. You will be craving it.

the final product:

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A correlation between Harry Potter and Emergency Room Visits: The Harry Potter Effect…

After reading the reviews given by Christakis, author of Connected, and Taleb, author if Black Swan, two books which I enjoyed, I was excited to read Barabasi’s Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do. Unfortunately, I missed the Linked train and felt a little more compelled to read Barabasi’s next hit. The book itself had the right intentions in captivating a novice audience for a subject that has been purely dominated by mathematicians.  For right now, however, I will refrain from writing a book review. If you would like one, I would recommend Columbia Professor Andrew Gelman’s full review of the book (thanks Johan).

What I did want to write about was an interesting study that Barabasi highlights from the John Radcliff Hospital in Oxford England. The report published in the British Medical Journal describes that with nearly 70 emergency cases, on July 16 there was an unusually low amount of cases at the emergency room. Interestingly enough this was also the launch dates of  two Harry Potter books—The Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince Saturday 21 June 2003 and Saturday 16 July 2005.
The numbers dont lie. The mean attendance rate for children aged 7-15 years during the control weekends was 67.4 (SD 10.4). For the two intervention weekends the attendance rates were 36 and 37 (mean 36.5, SD 0.7). This represents a significant decrease in attendances on the intervention weekends, as both are greater than two SD from the mean control attendance rate and an unpaired t test gives a t value of 14.2 (P < 0.0001). At no other point during the three year surveillance period was attendance that low.

The take away, “…all we need are ‘safety-conscious, talented writers who could produce high quality books for the purpose of injury prevention.’”

I wonder how many women avoided the emergency room when Twilight launched?

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The Red Shirts in Thailand…

I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts and photos that I took of the current Red Shirt protests in Bangkok. Mind you that this was all taken a few weeks ago and since then the demonstrations and protesting have increased.

For the most part, the protests that we have seen have been non-violet. We actually saw many signs that stressed that this was a non-violent protest. Many reports have indicated that the violence last week, which lead to the death of about 25 individuals including a Reuters cameraman, where a result of anarchists. The definition of an anarchist here was not clearly defined and it is not known whether or not any of these individuals were Red Shirt supporters. Also, there have been reports of small bombings occurring on the side of the streets and yesterday a grenade being thrown. Tragic.

Okay, quick synopsis of what is going on from an outsiders perspective. There have been recent corruption accusations of the current government and discontent of the 2006 coup, which was supported by the Yellow Shirts (People’s Alliance for Democracy, PAD) that is comprised of businessmen and middle to upperclass. The Red Shirts, known as the National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), representing the poorer classes, are supported by the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a bloodless military coup in 2006 and has pending corruption convictions. After speaking to local Thai citizens, we were informed that the Red Shirts are provided with free water and food, and even cash to pay for any long distance travel expenses. According to CNN, Shinawatra fled the country in 2008 while facing trial on corruption charges that he says were politically motivated. As strong as the Red Shirts are right now in dominating the streets of Bangkok, the Yellow Shirts have given the government until this Sunday to calm the Red Shirt protests otherwise Thailand will be seeing counter-protests.

Thailand is ruled by a highly admired and revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, or Rama IX. He has been the longest reigning king in the history of Thailand – almost 64 years. There were two rules that were clearly stressed to us as a tourists in Thailand- 1) do not disrespect the Buddha and 2) do not respect the king. Trust me, I think more people had photos of the king around their cities, shops and homes than of their own family members. According to the NY Times, King Adulyadej, who has no political position, has been in and out of the hospital since September and has not commented on the current situation.

(photo from flickr)

When speaking to the Thai people we encountered, many are not happy with the protests. It has been very difficult on the Thai economy as tourism makes for 7% of the countries GDP and forecasts predict that it will drop as a result of the protests.

From my understanding the entire country is divided and there is a complete other half of the population which is in support of the Red Shirt protests. Demonstrations began in patches and became active with more than a 100,000 people camping the streets of Bangkok starting in March 2010. Day and night you can see people driving around the streets to demonstrate their support for Shinawatra.

As a tourist the most difficult thing was catching a taxi to go through the center of the city. Many taxis simply drove off, quoted us outrageous prices or took longer detours.

Although my understanding of the conflict in Thailand is still foggy, the fact that millions throughout the country are demonstrating for something they potentially believe is right has been inspiring. The difficult part to judge is whether or not the facts are true or maybe the supporters have been simply uninformed? I am certainly the last person to know. Coincidentally, I had been reading the work of Howard Zinn during the time of the protests and I was reminded of the individuals in our history who have stood up for their rights that we today take for granted- voting, minimum wage, good working conditions, etc…  I believe that if the Red Shirt supporters have a voice, then it needs to be heard through non-violent demonstrations. They must stand up for what they believe in. However, whether or not the Red Shirts are fighting for the right cause I cannot say, I just hope that the results of this ordeal bring to Thailand the continued growth and development it deserves. When Alan Moore wrote V for Vendetta, he said “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

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Haiti, before the earthquake…

My early days of scientific research, statistics, and biology began studying an endangered tree species with my research professor and dear friend- Dr. Roland de Gouvenian. As our relationship grew so did my focus into a different field of research. We would spend a lot of time together- lost in the woods, roaming an island, and even working in rainstorms- and yet it would be our companionship that would get us through the best and most difficult of times. One of the nicest things about having a French professor- besides the constant in-your-face brie cheese- is learning about different cultures. One thing I really appreciated, in addition to my friendship with Rolando, was the time spent learning from his wife Joceyln. Jocelyn might even have a bigger heart than Rolando. I learned that Joceyln isn’t French, but that she is actually Haitian.  Our friendship sparked my interest in a country that has been labeled the poorest in the western hemisphere, but the true wealth of this country, as I learned, was in the culture, food and even the music of the Haitians.

When I found out that Haiti had been struck by an earthquake, with reports claiming a devastated Port-au-Prince, I immediately emailed Rolando. Since the earthquake we have been in constant communication, and I was sent some photos he took of what Haiti was like before the earthquake…

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Eglise du Sacre-Coeur, Les Caye

Port-au-Prince, Haiti -Presidential Palace

Pétionville, Haiti

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Borne Fer, Haiti

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A new way to see your desktop…

I saw BumpTop a few months ago and today the Mac version has been finally released. What I am impressed about BumpTop is the creativity in presenting a new way at looking at the traditional desktop. Writing about it will do no justice, so you have to just see the video.

Some quick pros: the 3D feature, organizing your files into piles, the fluid and quick movement of the files- all allows me to be more organized since I always have music, papers/journal articles and folders all over my desktop.

Some quick cons: for some reason after I highlight a couple files, I cannot move them all together (only when you’re viewing one of your walls). However, it works fine for the desktop view. If I organize the files on my wall in 3D I am not able to see all of them when I zoom backout.

I am sure these will be fixed with up grades.

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Held by the Taliban: A Media Black Out…

The story of New York Times journalist, and Pulitzer Prize winner, David Rohde is a very interesting one. Rohde travels to Afghanistan to interview a Taliban leader but he ends up being taken hostage. Soon after, the NY Times requested all media outlets around the world, including Wikipedia, to respect a media blackout in order to increase any chances Rohde had of being released.

I have always admired journalists (writers, cameramen, drivers, translators…) because they take risks and follow their passion to get a story for us. Certainly biases do exist, but if that could be overlooked for a minute, the fact that individuals even risk their lives to get one interview with infamous people such as a Taliban leader is amazing.

What is also interesting is the role that Wikipedia played during this time. Wikipedia placed restrictions and controlled the coverage of information about Rohde in order to prevent any public attention from being drawn to his captivity, so as to not endanger his life. As Professor Joseph M. Reagle from NYU said in a NY Times interview, “Wikipedia has, over time, instituted gradually more control because of some embarrassing incidents, particularly involving potentially libelous material, and some people get histrionic about it, proclaiming the death of Wikipedia,” he said. “But the idea of a pure openness, a pure democracy, is a naïve one.”

Beyond anything else, however, the story of Rohde will be one that will be discussed inside and outside of the classroom for years to come- a story of journalism, captivity, bravery, and control of media.

This was the story of David Rohde who would share his experience of being captive by the Taliban for 7 months and 10 days from November 2008- June 2009.

Held by the Taliban:
Part 1: 7 Months, 10 Days in Captivity
Part 2: Inside the Islamic Emirate
Part 3: ‘You Have Atomic Bombs, but We Have Suicide Bombers.’
Part 4: A Drone Strike and Dwindling Hope
Part 5: A Rope and a Prayer
Epilogue

Video of David Rohde Here

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Mind the Gap: Cancer in Adolescents and Young Adults (Part II)…

Today, there are over 70,000 adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer per year in the US alone. For over two decades there has been little or no improvement in survival in cancer patients between the ages of 15-39, as defined by the US National Cancer Institute. Cancer is the most common fatal disease in adolescents and young adults.

Traditionally, cancer has had two schools of thought: paediatric oncology and adult oncology. Today, however, oncology (the study and treatment of cancer) can be thought to consist of four distinct divisions: paediatric, adolescent and young adult, adult, and geriatric cancer. What makes adolescent and young adult cancer patients different are the unique diseases that affect this age group. Paediatrics suffers from cancers such as leukaemia, and adults suffer from diseases  such as lung, prostate, gastrointestinal tract, and urinary system cancer, which are identified as older people’s diseases. Comparatively, almost 90% of all invasive cancers in the adolescent and young adult group are accounted for by ten groups. [See box]

Box [2]:
1.    Breast cancer
2.    Lymphomas
3.    Melanoma
4.    Female genital tract tumours (ovary and uterine cervix)
5.    Thyroid carcinoma
6.    Sarcomas
7.    Testicular cancer
8.    Colorectal carcinoma
9.    Leukaemias
10.    Brain tumours

Picture 4

[5]

Being an adolescent or young adult is the biggest risk factor for delayed treatment, even though there is some overlap in diseases between the different age groups, . Moreover, in the US, young adults have the highest percentage of uninsured or under-insured individuals of any age group. In 2004, 13.7 million young adults aged 19 to 29 lacked coverage, an increase of 2.5 million since 2000 [1].

People in the age range 15–39 have different risk factors for cancer. Cervical cancer occurs most frequently in females infected with human papillomavirus. Risk factors for Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer originating from a white blood cell) include a history of autoimmune disorder, a family history of malignancy or hematopoietic disorder (abnormal formation of blood cells), and being of Jewish descent [3]. Skin cancer risk factors can be contributed to a combination of events such as high UV exposure, having a mole and a history of skin cancer in the family [3]. Melanoma (a type of skin cancer) is the most common cancer in women ages 20-29, and the biggest cause of cancer deaths in women ages 25-30 [3]. Ironically, more than 9,500 cases of malignant melanoma were diagnosed in the UK in 2005, and while Australia may have a high rate of melanoma (9,722 new cases in 2004), the death rate is lower because of early detection (1,600 deaths in 2005 compared to 1,852 deaths in the UK in 2006) [4,12,].

Adolescents and young adults have different physiology (e.g. hormones) and pharmacology (e.g. drug clearance, side effects) to other age groups with respect to cancer susceptibility and treatment [7]. To fully comprehend these differences, scientists need more people of this age range to participate in medical trials. In addition to adolescents and young adults being under represented, there are far fewer men than women who have participated in clinical trials between the ages of 20 and 40 [2]. Poor clinical trial participation is one reason why there is a lack of progress on cancer treatment for young adults and older adolescents.

Today, cancer survival in paediatric and older adult age groups continue to improve, all while progress on treatment of adolescents and young adults remains lagging behind. That is why there are organisations that are creating a community for this age group through health education, survivorship events, conferences and policy making; as well as providing psychosocial support through support groups, social networks and blogs.

Organisations, such as the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) in the UK, are building units in NHS hospitals specifically for teenagers with cancer. The newest one is opening at the Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge at the end of 2009. In the US, organizations such as I’m Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation (i[2]y) and Planet Cancer have created grassroots movements to raise awareness and improve young patients’ prospects. ‘Spot a Spot’ is an educational outreach program in the US that is educating more than 10,000 students every year on the key risk factors for skin cancer using their “Spot a Spot. Save a Life” campaign. Finally, SeventyK is an adolescent and young adult advocacy organization that has proposed a new patient’s bill of rights specifically for young cancer patients, which has over 7,000 signature supporters globally. They have teamed up with other international organizations to help create a international charter that will set the precedence for treatment of adolescent and young adult cancer patients throughout the world.

Long-term survival and health is also important for young cancer survivors, which is why many organisations are emphasizing psychosocial support, as well as addressing other issues such as fertility[1,8]. Going through, for example, a round of radiation or chemotherapy increases an individual’s risk of infertility and of developing secondary cancers later on. The primary concern when dealing with cancer is survivorship as well as secondary concerns such as fertility treatment. Yet, a GP’s level of knowledge about preserving fertility, their attitude and their comfort level with the topic can vary [6].  That is why it is important for GPs to be up to date with the fertility options available, and to offer sperm banking and ovarian cryopreservation (freezing of parts of the ovary containing immature eggs) to adolescents and young adults; who may have not been given clear explanations of long-term side effects of their cancer treatment [9,10].

In order to increase survivorship for a generation who have fallen through the gaps of medical practise, there needs to be stronger science, improvement in the way psychosocial issues are addressed, and self-empowerment. The medical community needs to increase their understanding of the adolescent and young adult age group and their high risk factors for cancer. Along with continued education, clinical and epidemiological research needs to improve in order for the medical community to understand what makes this age group so unique.

A healthcare provider’s responsibilities need to go beyond the clinic and they should help to develop age appropriate programmes in order to ensure the survival of cancer patients from paediatrics to adolescents and through to young adults. Finally, there needs to be a sense of ownership from adolescent and young adult cancer patients, so that their voice is not blurred by misdiagnosis or delayed treatment. Ownership beginning with patients taking control of their health and supporting policy initiatives introduced by advocacy groups such as SeventyK [11] . It is important for young people to know as much as they can about their cancer and its effects; enabling them to make sure they receive the correct treatment and seek out the appropriate and specific help and care they deserve.

I originally had this essay printed in The Triple Helix. Special thank you to Dr. Leonard Sender & the SeventyK team.

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References:
1.    Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Progress Review Group. Closing the Gap: Research and Care Imperatives for Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, and the LiveStrong Young Adult Alliance.
2.    Bleyer, A., et al. (2008) The distinctive biology of cancer in adolescents and young adults, Nature Reviews Cancer, April, vol. 8, pp. 288-298.
3.    Bleyer A, O’Leary M, Barr R, Ries LAG (eds): Cancer Epidemiology in Older Adolescents and Young Adults 15 to 29 Years of Age, Including SEER Incidence and Survival: 1975-2000. National Cancer Institute, NIH Pub. No. 06-5767. Bethesda, MD 2006.
4.    Skin Cancer. Cancer Research UK. http://info.cancerresearchuk.org
5.    Bleyer A. (2007) Young Adult Oncology: The Patients and Their Survival Challenges, CA Cancer J Clin, vol. 57, pp. 242-255.
6.    Quinn, G., et al. (2008) Patient–physician communication barriers regarding fertility preservation among newly diagnosed cancer patients, Social Science & Medicine, pp. 784–789.
7.    Wu, X., et al. (2005) Cancer incidence patterns among adolescents and young adults in the United States, Cancer Causes and Control, vol 16, pp. 309–320.
8.    Schover, L, et al. (2002) Knowledge and Experience Regarding Cancer, Infertility, and Sperm Banking in Younger Male Survivors. Journal of Clinical Oncology, April vol 20, 1880-1880.
9.    Soliman, H. and Agresta, S. (2008) Current Issues in Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivorship, Cancer Control, Vol 15, pp 55-62.
10.     Jeruss, J. and Woodruff, T. (2009) Preservation of Fertility in Patients with Cancer, N Engl J Med 2009, vol: 360, pp. 902-911.
11.    SeventyK [homepage on the Internet]. [(www.SeventyK.org)
12.    Australian Government. Department of Health and Aging. Skin Cancer. http://www.skincancer.gov.au/

Food for Thought…

As I sit in the midst of my dissertation writing it becomes very easy to go hours without eating something healthy or just eating in general. I would like to think of myself as a healthy eater and always conscious of what goes into my body (my body is my temple). Although, friends who have seen me at my lowest may disagree.

Here are my favorite top  5 quick snacks (certainly not original except #1)- I sound like Martha Steward.

#5 Hummus + Bread + Feta Cheese

#4 Toasted Whole Grain Bread + Cream Cheese + Smoked Salmon

#3 Yogurt, Honey, Oats/Nuts

#2 Banana + Nutella

…enough said.

#1 Fruit Smoothie

Usually a cup of mixed berries, cup of pineapples, and enough apple juice and blend it!

I usually use frozen because I don’t have to peel, cut or wash and I just throw them into the blender.

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DuVanity (Part II)…

burj-al-arab

van⋅i⋅ty
/ˈvænɪti/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [van-i-tee]
–noun
excessive pride in one’s appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc.

This evening I went for a run on the beach. As I ran, kicking the sand in the air, trying to keep my balance, I could feel the heat insulated by the sand begin to rise. I then thought to myself about the project that is planning to place a cooling system below the sand so people don’t burn their feet while on the beach.

dubai-desert

The city known as Dubai continues to catch me off guard with something new and amusing. From the thrills of eating dinner above the city to the desert safaris, there is pretty much something here for anyone. However, what I have come to realize over my time spent in the city is that for the first time I am able to see how the rich spend their money. What is clearly noticeable here in newer developments of Dubai is that if you just got the new Nissan GTR, then the person next to you has the new Audi R8. These of course fall into the shadows of every single model of Ferrari you can think of. Lamborghinis roar through the Jumeriah Beach Residence over the soft luxury engines of a Mercedes, BMW, or Range Rover. Of course you can find a huge diversity of cars, however, there is such a large concentration of luxury cars that all the rest just fall into the background of the city. And if you think you have the best model, well let’s just hope your license plate number is two digits (1 digit will cost you $14.3 m).

lambo-dubai

I am not going to lie- the buildings are amazing. These buildings will continue to bring in people throughout the world to this city. Many have said how the financial crisis may be bringing this city to an end. As one construction developer who I spoke said, “Dubai’s construction isn’t slowing down, it is just stabilizing and going to normal growth.” The city has been growing faster than people are coming and slowly the government has been able to refocus its strategy and invest into more than just construction, for example the opening of DuBiotech. There still is development and hotels continue to open up and each one offering something more than the other. From Michelin star rated restaurants to extensive ornate networks of traditional souks (open air markets), hotels are making sure that they are the hottest things to come to Dubai. What took many cities to be built over centuries, Dubai did in a few decades. Still criticisms exist, “you’re building a city in the desert, this is impossible.” The desert did not stop Las Vegas from being built nor did it stop 20 million residents from living in Los Angeles- with an annual rainfall of only 15 inches (38 cm). Give it time, and Dubai will continue to grow.

madinat-jumeirah

Malls confirm every rumor that have reached the west coast. Dubai Mall offers an in door ice skating rink, giant 4 story waterfalls, and a massive aquarium. Emirates mall stands out with its massive ski slope and all malls are able to offer some of the finest clothing and brands available in the world. Even the local gold souks attract many of the world’s buyers.

dubai-mall

Restaurants, no matter where you are (or at least where I have been), serve with respect and quality. I must also give a shout out to the Mexican restaurants here. I have had more Mexican food in my time spent in Dubai than I have the entire past 6 months in the UK. A nice horchata and I would possibly have no reason to ever go to another restaurant.

dubaimarket

I have seen minimal police, and the few that I have enjoy their BMWs. This might be a non-American thing, however, in the US the most luxury a policy officer gets is a Crown Vic or a Camaro. There is no visible poverty and you see no homeless people on the street. Occasionally you may find a piece of liter on the floor, but that would be a rare occasion as well.

Fashion also plays an important role like any other place where you find beautiful people.  You will find Russians, Europeans, some Americans and some from Down Under. Some people come out in their brands, others come in their $500 torn t-shirts. Emirati’s of course are visible, even with some of the world’s most stylist Abayas. Everyone looks good no matter what age or after how many kids. The preface here is that fashion goes beyond expectations and sometimes extends to the overwhelming range, but it makes great for people watching.

burjdubai

My point for these random thoughts isn’t necessarily to say that this life style doesn’t exist anywhere else, because I am sure that it does. Rather, it is to show how concentrated this life style is to one area. Dubai has been able to become a center hub for the Middle East and Euroasian continent and has welcomed all individuals to come. However, I have also noticed that some expatriates are more welcomed than others and I have begun to see that Dubai is more than just one dimensional… to be continued

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The Confusion of Dubai (Part I)…

duabi1

It has been more than 72 hours since I have landed in what I have come to call this city as DubaiLand. Construction is non-stop and it can be seen clearly that Arab wealth, European design, and Indian hands have built this city. The city does not sleep and as of tonight I have accepted that it will be impossible for me to see everything in this city. There is no downtown. Originally everything was near the airport, then as things began to expand and the government came to understand the true value of this precious city tucked away in the Persian Gulf, the city began to develop in all directions.

Anything you want to do, you can do. It can be expensive or it can be cheap. It can be slow or it can be fast. Walking is unheard of, as today I saw my first and only lone bicyclist. Crime is not visible, well there just is little to no crime and I have only seen one police car here.

From the minute I stepped into the first cab, I began to understand more about this Emirate that I have always read so much about. As I left the airport, I began to chat with my taxi driver- a middle aged Pakistani man who is telling me the impact of the global economy on Dubai. He tells me that as a cab driver he is a government employee yet works on commission. Six months ago it would have taken 1-2 hours to get to the Jumeriah Beach Residence because of all the traffic. Today, it took only 30 minutes. He explains to me that buildings were being built faster than they could make room for new ones. Construction was 24/7. Work would begin and a single shift would be 8 hours, then a bus would pick up the Indian construction workers, to clear the way for a new shift to begin. All the tourist websites explained how difficult it is to get a cab at a mall because it is always packed, today cabs wait outside the mall for shoppers. Things have slowed down but I don’t think it will dramatically alter Dubai unless the global economy continues in this state for another half decade.

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(Jumeriah Beach Residence)

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Quick history- after the Sheikh realized the prosperity that was being gained from all the continued demand of construction and development two government companies were created but run independently as private businesses. (Apparently everything created here by the government comes in pairs in order to create competition).  One was Nakheel (Palm Jebel Ali, Palm Jumeriah, Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai World) and the other was Emaar (Burj Dubai, the Lakes, the Greens). Now these two development companies are going around the world and flexing their skills. The UAE has become so influential that is holds major shares in almost anything and everything: Securing rice fields in Thailand, major share holder in Ferarri, 75% of the Chrysler Building in NYC, MGM, and even investing in UK Soccor.

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Dubai is the first Muslim country I have ever stayed in, I find it quite interesting and it  (from what I understand) is one of the most liberal of the Gulf countries. The amount of wealth that is in Dubai is beyond many places in this world. There is a unique ambiance in which class matters, what you drive is who you are and you should be prepared to spend your money. There is old money and there are the new kids on the block who work endless hours to break into a new social class. However, all of this is done in a very subtle and elegant way. There is a level of respect, Sir and Madaam are commonly used, and women are treated with respect. However this city is not as foreign as I felt it would have been. It possesses Newport Beach’s cars and lifestyle, Las Vegas’ money, and New York City’s business.

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There are however boundaries from what I have seen and read. No one criticizes the government or Islam, if women are showing too much skin in magazines they are blocked off and aside form the media, the Internet is also controlled. I cannot use Skype unless it is Skype to Skype.

Tonight I walked to the Marina Mall. With the amount of construction surrounding me, I was so surprised to not even find a coke can or piece of paper on the ground. When I walked into the massive mall, the first thing I thought to my self is how am I going to walk on these floors, there is no dirt on it for my shoes to stick to- the floors were polished clean and I couldn’t walk straight without slipping. As I walked the streets of Jumeriah Beach, I quickly realized how eclectic this city is and how I only have seen such a limited perspective of what Dubai really is.

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I hope to explore this city and further understand the hands that run the city to the hands that have built the city.

| if I knew all the words I would write myself out of here. |

Berkeley: 3 of the 15 Strangest College Courses…

strange

adjective, strang⋅er, strang⋅est

Unusual, extraordinary, or curious

I came across Online College Blog today which ranked the top 15 strangest college courses in America. Berkeley gets three mentions out of the 15, this explains why the University of California is the best college in the country (personal biases).

What are the three…

15. Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular ‘Logic’ on TV Judge Shows

Not quite what one would expect, the professor of this course emphasizes repeatedly in the course listing that this class is “NOT a course about law or “legal reasoning.” It is instead an exploration of logical fallacies that are often presented by defendants and plaintiffs on court television shows like Judge Judy and The People’s Court. Seems right up the alley of most college students, as they are squarely in the demographic of afternoon television programming (which also targets the elderly and unemployed).

4. Simpsons and Philosophy

This one is probably predictable as you’ve got a twenty year old show with plenty of rich fairly intellectual material and a main character with the name of “Homer”. UC-Berkeley claims this isn’t at all a dumbed down class, but a fairly rigorous philosophical course. The text of the class is the book “The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D’oh of Homer,” edited by William Irwin and features weighty questions such as “Can Nietzsche’s rejection of traditional morality justify Bart’s bad behavior?”.

1. The Strategy of StarCraft

http://www.berkeleystarcraft.com/

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The Future of Cell Phones…

We all know it. The next cell phone for any of us will be a smart phone. For many, this will be an iPhone.

However, imagine a bunch of really cool gadgets that are out right now.

Apple’s iPhone…

apple-iphone-in-hand-thumb

Amazon’s Kindle…
kindle

A GPS System…

gps-500

Okay maybe not that cool, but imagine all of them in one concept.

I am a little late on this, but I had an opportunity to speak with Marc Bailey of Nokia last week here in Cambridge. He told me about where the future of health care communications is heading. Yet, beyond healthcare, I was introduced to Nokia’s concept phone- Morph.

nokia-morph-concept-nano-materials

Simply to see how it works ou have to watch the video:

Features of the Morph:
*  Newly-enabled flexible and transparent materials blend more seamlessly with the way we live
* Devices become self-cleaning and self-preserving
* Transparent electronics offering an entirely new aesthetic dimension
* Built-in solar absorption might charge a device, whilst batteries become smaller, longer lasting and faster to charge
* Integrated sensors might allow us to learn more about the environment around us, empowering us to make better choices

Beyond the fact that this concept is about 10-15 years away, I am still blown off my feet by the creativity and ingenuity behind this technology.

In my 4th grade elementary class we had a guest came in to speak to us about cellular phones. The class bunched together and sat on the floor as the presenter stood in front of us. He reached behind his back and pulled out what I saw as a cordless phone. This phone was definitely something from the 90s.

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In any matter, what he said next would stick with me as I became part of the technology revolution- “One day cellular phones will replace every home phone and every person will own a cellular phone.”

This is already happening.

As consumers, when something new hits the market we used to immediately ask ourselves the basic who, what, why, where, and when, but with such rapid advances in technology there is only one question we ask ourselves, and that is “how long until…”

The ability for engineers to even think of  a concept such as the Morph shows that although the iPhone and Facebook may dominate society today, nothing is for certain. In the same way that AOL no longer is the main internet service provider and that a Kodak no longer implies a camera (in the early 1900s people use to say “get your Kodak” [camera]), technology and creativity will be the ultimate assessment of the fortitude of a company.

After a dinner conversation with a friend, we agreed that the best scientists are the ones who don’t ask the best questions, rather ask the right questions. I can’t wait to see what the future holds…

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P.S. Update from my 14 Janurary post on Real Mind Control…
Check out Uncle Milton Industries Jedi Force Trainer:

By wearing a headset that detects electroencephalography (EEG) signals, users can control a floating ball using the Force—force of mind, that is. By concentrating as hard as you can, you can get the ball to rise higher; concentrate less and the ball sinks. The wireless EEG headgear sends signals to a device that controls the speed of a fan, which in turn lifts or lowers the ball to various levels. This item rivals Mattel, Inc.’s new $80-$100 Mindflex, which uses similar technology to keep a ball aloft. Available in August.
Price tag: $130

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Continue reading

Real Mind Control…

Imagine putting on a piece of what seems like the inner brace of a construction helmet. However, what you have just placed on your head measures the electrical activity produced by the brain. This head set has 16 sensors that are uniquely placed to measure: conscious thought, emotions, facial expressions and head rotation.

Emotiv Systems is the company behind this technology which is headed and cofounded by Tan Le who has a very impressive resume. In 1998, Tan was named Young Australian of the Year (the most prestigious prize for an Australian) and voted one of Australia’s 30 Most Successful Women Under 30.

Although from what I have read about the product there seems to be limitations and the product works within the bounds of a defined context. However, the proof of concept exists in that researchers have been able to produce a technology that learns and reacts to the way your brain thinks and carries out an action that is detected.

What are the implications…massive! Emotiv Systems plans to roll this out to the gaming industry first. Of course an ideal move into a market which has over 40m users just in the U.S. and a worldwide game software and hardware industry of over $25b. Gaming systems like the Ninento Wii have certainly set a higher bar and opened up new opportunities for different industries to enter this continuously growing market. Incredibly, average age of a gamer is 28 in the UK, but the Entertainment Software Association estimates this average to be at 33 in the U.S.

Although not really gaming, take for example- Expresso Fitness, a developer and supplier of interactive, Web-enabled cardio fitness systems for the commercial health club market,  announced  that it has raised $12M in a Series C-2 round of funding by Physic Ventures (a really interesting venture fund that places emphasis on positive social impact and our ability to foster sustainable environmental solutions).

Not to diverge, but the Emotiv EPOC helmet is a freightening step towards a field of science and technology that could only have been described in a H.G. Wells’ book. Remember the last time you were with a friend and you ended up reading his/her mind? Does this technology essentially bring us a step closer to understanding the phenomenon of Extra-Sensory Preception (ESP)? I believe the unique technology behind the device is rather interesting and comes to show how far we have progressed in the fields of science and technology. Yet, we live in a society where mind control is often times related to watching too much TV and now it is us who can control what would possibly be displayed on the monitor in front of us.

I can only imagine what comes next: living in a society where people walk around without speaking to each other and some how understand what everyone is expressing to one another. Except I would call this device an ipod.

| if I knew all the words I would write myself out of here. |

Our Right is to Vote…

The birth of the United States was on the back of slavery, which ended in 1865. This was nearly 100 years after America fought for her independence but after almost 200 years of slavery in the US.

It took congress 5 years to amend the US Constitution and in 1870 the Fifteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, which prohibits the government to prevent a citizen from voting based on an individuals race or color. It took another 50 years for the US Constitution to prohibit the government from denying any citizen the right to vote based on a person’s sex. Essentially, women were given the right to vote by the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution in 1920.

Unfortunately, there were still places in this country where individuals were still prohibited from voting and basic rights that were protected by the Constitution were not being reinforced by local government and eventually gave rise to the Civil Rights Movements (1950s-1970s). During this time, everyday citizens fought for basic rights. It took congress a second time to reinforce through the National Voting Rights Act of 1965 that you cannot “deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”  Finally, in 1971 the Twenty-sixth Amendment to the US Constitution standardized the voting age to 18 as a result of the fact that our parents were being sent to Vietnam without having the right to vote.

I believe that  sometimes we take advantage of these rights and over look the fact that so many people fought hard for us to simply vote without being harassed. Now, I don’t mean for this to be a history lesson, but it should be easily recognized that in one of the greatest countries in this world, only in the past 30 years has voting been a right for what comes out to be more than 70% of the country (age 18 and older). It is our responsibility as citizens of the US to vote! This is a right and a privilege that we have in this country.

How you vote is a different story…

I am not going to break down each candidate and their social, economic and foreign policy.

What I will tell you is that I believe that Senator Barak Obama is not only the best candidate, he is probably one of the best candidates who has ran for president in the history of this country. (at least in my life time). Never have I ever seen such an effort by such a passionate individual. Never have I ever seen an individual whose YouTube videos bring motivation for me. Never have I ever seen a half black, half white man who comes from a disadvantaged background, study at one of the top universities in the country, essentially live the American Dream, and run for President. Yes, only in this country is Senator Barack Obama’s story even possible.

It is time to return to realism, and away from unscrupulous foreign policy (Senator Obama has been favored by a four-to-one margin across the 22,500 people polled in 22 countries).  We know that the new president will have a large responsibility and have a lot of working waiting for him. That is why we need Senator Obama to begin addressing the economic situation, the failing healthcare system and problems in our education system. The only strong candidate in this race is Senator Obama and it is Senator Obama who can help bring change and progress in a society that has been clouded with war, economic depression, and poverty.


If you’re still on the fence (and I did not want to go here), then think about this:
President Palin

Echoing Senator Obama’s speech:

In one week’s time, we can choose an economy that rewards work and creates new jobs and fuels prosperity from the bottom up. In one week, we can choose to invest in health care for our families and education for our kids and renewable energy for our future.

In one week, we can choose hope over fear and unity over division, the promise of change over the power of the status quo. In one week, we can come together, as one nation and one people, and once more choose our better history.

That’s what’s at stake. That’s what we’re fighting for. And if in this last week, you will knock on some doors for me and make some calls for me and talk to your neighbors and convince your friends; if you will stand with me and fight with me and give me your vote, then I promise you, we will not just win Ohio; we will win this general election. And together we’ll change this country and we will change the world.



Who would have known that 2 years ago when my roommates were telling me about Senator Obama that I would have written a blog in support of him as president later on. If it is any consolation and in parallel with: WSJ, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Washinton Post- I am endorsing Barack Obama for President (just a little later than Colin Powell).

Please vote on Tuesday, November 4th.

If you are not registered to vote or your too young to vote, you can still help! Email and call friends and family who are registered to vote! Visit here, sign up, and you can contact people anywhere in the country and encourage them to vote Obama 08!

For you Californians- reinforcing the statement on Google’s blog, No on Prop 8 ☺, however, this is a whole different conversation…

| if I knew all the words I would write myself out of here. |

800 Years of Scholarship…

The reason I have failed to update the blog has been based on multiple reasons. Mainly because of the transition of moving from the US to the UK. It has taken sometime to get adjusted and I still feel like I am in vacation mode. I have now officially started my master’s program at the University of Cambridge studying a very amazing multidisciplinary program. My day started with entrepreneurship and ended with microeconomics. Trust me, Game Theory is ‘tizzite’. The rest of the week I get to study Treatment of Cancer, Viral Infectious Diseases, Cardiovascular Disease in the mornings and Decision Theory and Commercializing Sciences in the evenings.

As a member of Downing College (Cambridge is organized much like Hogwats in Harry Potter), the view outside my window looks a bit like this:

What does 800 years encompass?

-    83 Nobel Prizes
-    15 British Prime Ministers
-    3 Prime Ministers of India
-    2 Prime Ministers of Singapore
-    1  Prime Minister of Australia
-    Sir Isaac Newton (The laws of motion)
-    Charles Darwin (Evolution by natural selection)
-    J. J. Thomson (discovered the electron)
-    Ernest Rutherford (orbital theory of an atom)
-    Niels Bohr (understanding atomic structure)
-    Howard Florey (involved in the discovery of penicillin)
-    Hans Krebs (discovering the citric acid cycle)
-    Max Born (fundamental research into quantum mechanics)
-    James Watson &  Francis Crick (determining the structure of DNA)
-    Roger Y. Tsien (2008 Nobel Prize Winner, discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein)
-    King Edward VII, King George VI and Prince Charles did their undergraduate degree
-    Apparently one of the first places football (soccer) rules were established
-    Endowment of almost $8 billion

+ many other things that I may have not heard about or found through the Cambridge Website/Wikipedia.
In the mean time, I have purchased a nice dandy squash racket and plan to indulge myself into this really great sport. Apparently you can burn up to 1000 calories per hour!!!

As I slowly get back in the habit of trying to write some of my thoughts, I leave you with my last picture on US soil with my dear “mum”.

Obama ’08

| if I knew all the words I would write myself out of here. |

When Music Crosses Styles, Sounds, and Generations…

Alright, tonight I am going to do it a little different. Music. As long as I can remember, I have always been listening to music. My interest in music comes most likely from the fact that I can always remember my dad listening to great music.  Everything from flamenco guitar, to classical Indian music, to Enrico Macias (French), to old Afghan Music, to Sonny and Cheer’s Little Man. At the same time, I was still keeping up with the current pop culture. Everything makes my list, from Boys to Men, to 2Pac, to Audioslave and Michael Buble.

Growing up, I had the experience in high school to see my friends make bands and attempt to break into the music industry. Some of my closest classmates and friends have been able to do so, however, a majority are still trekking along. One of my past times is to find new music and be exposed to what is being produced in all different genres.

I was introduce to a Canadian rapper named K-os (it’s pronounced Chaos and stands for Knowledge of Self) by my friend Vishal (a great music connoisseur). K-os’ unique talents has taken him to the top of charts with multiple platinum records in Canada, did I mention he has 48,000 friends on MySpace. His award’s definitely don’t create a short list. K-os has been nominated and has won everything from Best Pop Video, to Best Songwriter, to Fan Choice Award. In 2004, Crabbuckit became one of Canada’s top singles. In this music video, K-os definitely not a stranger to celebrities, Nelly Furtado appears in K-os’ music video. So why has K-os yet to break into the United States, the single place where artists become legends?

I believe Malcolm Gladwell attempts to answer this question in his book Blink in the chapter titled: Kenna’s Dilemma: The Right- and Wrong- Way to Ask People What They Want. This was the point in my life when Gladwell introduced me to Kenna. An amazingly talented artist, Kenna has revolutionized my iTunes’ Top 25 Most Played list. Coolfer said it best, “His [Kenna] live shows, often performed to a crowd who had never even heard of him, instantly converted the crowd into fans”. But Gladwell explains to the readers how Kenna was recieved to the public, “The people who had a way to structure their first impressions, the vocabulary to capture them, and the experience to understand them, loved Kenna and in a perfect world, that would have counted for more than the questionable findings of market research.”

Gladwell writes, “The first impressions of experts are different. By that I don’t mean that experts like different things than the rest of us–although that is undeniable. When we become expert in something, our tastes grow more esoteric and complex. What I mean is that it is really only experts who are really able to account for their reactions.” (Blink is about how people need only a split second to make a decision about something, if you want an interesting counter to Gladwell’s Blink, take a look at Michael LeGault’s Think)

Now back to the original topic, why are two individuals who are amazingly talented artists (they even come up together on the same play list on my Pandora), have yet to break into mainstream America? When taking a look at the lyrics, both K-os and Kenna offer an alternative to Akon’s love, Brittney’s loneliness, and The Jonas Brothers’ singing about making the temperature hotter. K-os along with Kenna offer a unique talent of bringing together an upbeat sense of music, which doesn’t brain wash today’s society. And if it does, it is doing it in a positive way.

The problem is that sex sells, and anything related to sex: drugs and alcohol.  When unique artists, not limited to K-os and Kenna, bring their talent to the mainstream, people don’t appreciate the unique difference they present because they are different. The root of all problems, we are scared of what is different so we try to ignore what we fear or hide it away hoping it goes away. Rather, we should look at differences being a tool in creating awarness and knowledge.

Fortunately, Lupe Fiasco, one of the best rappers of the 21st century, released a remix to Say Goodbye to Love, which gives me hope that people still do listen to great music.

As K-os said, “It seems that we all fear the ending of our ‘selves,’ but in reality we fear losing all the things we ‘know,’ especially who we THINK we are.”

p.s. one of my favorites of Kenna – Kenna- Freetime on YouTube

p.p.s. one of my favorites of K-os – K-os- The Love Song

UPDATE: Kenna song makes PSP Commercial

| if I knew all the words I would write myself out of here. |

The Gold Medal for Best Olympic Sport Goes To…

I am so sad that the Olympics are over. The Olympics represent so much to the world, expect for Russian Federation who should have waited 2 more weeks before invading Republic of Georgia in spirits of the Olympic Games. I mean, Georgia did get 3 Gold and 3 Bronze medals but no excuses.

I thought I do something fun this time. We know that there is swimming, and running, and gymnastics, but what about the sports that were not heavily televised. You know, the sports you watch and look at the person sitting next to you and say, “I did not know Baseball was an Olympic sport!”

Yes! You heard it right! The Bronze Medal goes to … Baseball! An American sport that would let us try to squeeze in another medal. Please, not more. No football! Let me put this straight. Baseball is an amazing American, Yankee sport and that is it. I think more people tuned in on Hawaii beating Mexico during the little league world series than watch America take the Bronze. Only 8 teams participated while football (soccer) had 16 teams participate. I am sure there were some qualifiers, however, I find it interesting that both Baseball and Badminton were made official Olympic medal sports at the same time. Yet, only badminton will be an Olympic medal sport in the London 2012 games.

I mean…when was the last time you traveled in a country outside of North America and saw a baseball field?!

I would like to award the silver medal to…Trampoline! Trampoline gymnastics debuted at the Sydney 2000 Games featuring both men’s and women’s individual events. Enough said.

Alrighty. Drum roll…. Gold Medal goes to not only one of the oldest Olympic sports (since 1906), but most likely one of the biggest poked at sports- Race Walking. Rules are simple- the walker’s front foot must be on the ground when the rear foot is raised. Also, the front leg must straighten when it makes contact with the ground.

Absolutely nothing but respect for all Olympic Athletes, but there has to be some explanations. Can someone who walks 50k run it in a faster time? Why not just a steady jog? Should we bring back the 1920 Tug-of-War? In much the same way that golfers, cheer leaders, and yo-yoers are athletes, should we introduce darts?

Honorable mentions go to: THE REDEEM TEAM!!! Men’s Field Hockey, the Jamaican’s who no long hide in the shadow of John Candy in the 1993 hit Cool Runnings, and high hopes to having cricket adopted in the …Mumbai 2020 Olympics, anyone?

| if I knew all the words I would write myself out of here. |

One of History’s Celebrities…

The definition of a celebrity is an individual who is widely known. Thus, I would like to share a short story and my encounter with a beautiful woman who has changed the way many of us have perceived her on different levels, whose enigmatic presence has created controversies. Some even go as far as questioning her sex and her age today would be well over 500 years old.

Her estate is over 650,000 square feet, which is 12 times that of the White House. Deep through her corridors and past the decorative historical art work that rests on the walls and the ancient Greek statues. Up her marble stairs and through another extensively exhausting hall  and once you have started to feel bleary you now enter her $7.5 million dollar room.

According to Bloomberg News, with over 8.3 million visitors in 2007, the Mona Lisa is one of the most celebrated and remembered paintings in the world. She is valued at over $600 million and rests peacefully behind a climate controlled bullet proof case in the Salle des États at the Louvre in Paris, France. I had an opportunity for the second time to rekindle my experience with Da Vinci’s master piece and so I decided to remember her by snapping a photo.

And no matter how many times I see the Mona Lisa, or La Gioconda, what was more impressive to me what people do in the 15 seconds they have with one of history’s celebrities.

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I also wanted to give a shot out to one of my favorite artists, known for his surrealism, but further his work with Dadaism – Marcel Duchamp. His work has been something that has always stuck in my mind after seeing it. Dadaism mostly focused on anti-war during WWI through art works, which makes me realize what anti-Iraq war artists will be painting. One of the most famous works by Duchamp is L.H.O.O.Q. Translation: “Elle a chaud au cul” (She has a Hot Ass).

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