I Believe That There Is Some Intelligent Life Out There

Do You Believe in Intelligent Alien Life?

Well, I do believe that there is a huge possibility that there is some alien life out there in one of the around 100 million planets out there in our galaxy alone. Now how many would that make in the entire universe – I can’t do that kind of math.

I am not arrogant enough to think that this planet and we are so special that we are the only living things out in the vastness of space. So even though I don’t know for sure I would bet that there is some intelligent life out there in the vastness of the universe, living on some rock that is traveling around some star in a system. Some will be much more advanced than us and others will be a lot less advanced.

Someday I hope we know for sure and get to meet some friendly aliens who wish us no harm. Who wants to share technology and make things goo for each other. And if their females are hot, I hope they would be up for some “cultural exchange”. I know I would!

Prompt from Over 1,000 Writing Prompts for Students at The New York Times Learning Network

Would You Like To Be Cryogenically Preserved (Frozen!) Upon Your Death?

Would You Like to Be Cryogenically Preserved (Frozen!) Upon Your Death?

Oh boy! Only if I die before the age of 60. I mean if I die at the age of 75 or 80 I don’t see the point of freezing my body in the hopes that medical science advances to such a stage 50 to a 1000 years later that they can unfreeze a body and bring it back to life. Imagine getting to see the future, hopefully a much better and fantastic world, but being too old to really appreciate it!

This possibility, possibly impressed upon my mind by a few scifi movies, is an interesting concept. Especially if you have a disease or condition for which there is no cure. Imagine you get to go into the deep freeze and how many ever years later, they thaw you out and you wake up and the doctors say that they have a cure, so get ready to be free of this disease or condition and you can now live an awesome life in, what is for you, a better future.

I’ve had this semi-dream once, I think probably around 2003 or maybe even earlier about being frozen in a lab accidentally with my dog, Shawny, and they can’t unfreeze us. 3000 years later we are “discovered” by a team of people who are searching archives from earth and they unfreeze me and my dog and take care of us. I am told that the earth has been abandoned over 2000 years ago and humanity now lives on several planets far away and also on bioships in relative luxury and travel the stars. Although I am sad that none of my family & friends are alive to be with me, I am also happy to get a chance to be with this group of people and be part of them while getting to explore the universe and also glad that I have my dog with me.

Prompt from Over 1,000 Writing Prompts for Students at The New York Times Learning Network

Life Is Not Giving Me Enough Time To Relax

Does Your Life Leave You Enough Time to Relax?

Well not so much at the moment. Weekends yes, plenty of it but they are also doing some heinous things at work. Due to the fact that they can’t arrange things properly so that we can work with the new hired folks in a 9 hour shift and instead it is an 8 hour shift, we have to work 2 Saturdays extra in a month. And not only that we also put in a couple of hours extra almost every day.

That leaves very little time to relax during the week. On weeks that we work on the Saturday, it leaves only Sunday in which to relax and sleep in and watch a movie or something. If we get the two full day weekend then there is more time to relax. And I should say, recover. At the moment, I can’t say that live or should I say work is giving me enough time to relax.

Then you make due with what you get. And wait for it to blow over.

Prompt from Over 1,000 Writing Prompts for Students at The New York Times Learning Network

Scariest Places In The World : Ilha da Queimada Grande, Brazil

Known as Snake Island, the viper-infested Ilha da Queimada Grande sits in the Atlantic Ocean about 90 miles off the coast of southeastern Brazil. Legend has it that the last fisherman who strayed too close to the shores of Snake Island was found days later adrift in his own boat, lying lifeless in a pool of blood. This mysterious island, also known as Ilha da Queimada Grande, is so dangerous that Brazil has made it illegal for anyone to visit. And the danger on the island comes in the form of the golden lancehead pit vipers – one of the deadliest snakes in the world.

The lanceheads can grow to be over a foot-and-a-half long and it’s estimated that there are between 2,000 and 4,000 of them on Snake Island. The lanceheads are so venomous that a human bitten by one could be dead within an hour. The lanceheads can grow to be over a foot-and-a-half long and it’s estimated that there are between 2,000 and 4,000 of them on Snake Island. The lanceheads are so venomous that a human bitten by one could be dead within an hour.

In reality, the vipers’ presence is the result of rising sea levels – a less exciting origin story than paranoid pirates to be sure, but still interesting. Snake Island used to be part of Brazil’s mainland, but when sea levels rose over 10,000 years ago, it separated the landmass and turned it into an island.

The animals that wound up isolated on Queimada Grande evolved differently from those on the mainland over the course of millennia, the golden lanceheads in particular. Since the island vipers had no prey but birds, they evolved to have extra-potent venom so that they could almost immediately kill any bird. 

Lancehead snakes, which are the golden lanceheads’ mainland cousins, are responsible for 90 percent of all snake bites in Brazil. A bite from their golden relatives, whose venom is up to five times more potent, is less likely to actually happen due to their island isolation. However, such an encounter is far more likely to be lethal if it does happen.

7 Wonderfully Fun Facts About Gelato

Interesting Gelato Facts 

Gelato originated in Italy and its modern-day form is credited to Francesco Procopio Dei Coltelli. He created the first ice cream machine, opened his first cafe in Paris, and introduced gelato.  Here are 5 fun gelato facts you may not know about gelato:

  • Making gelato â€“ Ice cream in Italy is made with sugar, milk, and various flavorings. It differs from western ice cream in that it is made with less cream and no egg yolks. When milk is removed from the recipe and replaced with water, it becomes a sorbet. Gelato is much denser than ice cream due to the low air content of the churning process. It has 70% less air than other frozen desserts. This causes it to melt in your mouth much faster than regular ice cream, giving it a creamier and stronger flavor and texture.
  • Gelato meaning â€“ The word “gelato” comes from the Italian word “congelato”, which means frozen. A gelato shop is called a “gelateria” and the person serving it is called “gelati.” It is best served the day it’s made.
  • Less fattening â€“ Another reason to eat more gelato is its low-fat content. It contains 3-8% less fat than regular ice cream and is much more flavorful. Traditional ice cream contains 10-17% milk fat. Since it is made with less butterfat, the flavors are bolder and don’t coat your palette in the same ways that ice cream does.
  • Gelato business â€“ Business is booming and gelato is a 200 million dollar empire. Many ice cream brands have incorporated gelato options into their line of ice cream offerings. Talenti, Ben & Jerry’s, Haagen-Dazs are three of the largest sellers of gelato.
  • Popular flavors â€“ Some of the most popular flavors include chocolate hazelnut, fig, coconut, pistachio, and lemon gelato. The slow churn makes these flavors more vibrant and creamy. Lemon gelato is relatively simple and easy to make at home. If you have extra lemons sitting in your kitchen, you’ll want to bring out the ice cream maker and make this frozen treat.
  • Authentic gelato â€“ If you’re looking for authentic gelato, you’ll need to get it from a shop that uses a spade or paddle. Authentic gelateria doesn’t use scoops because a paddle is better equipped to smoothly scoop gelato. There is an art to making and serving authentic gelato and any shop you buy from should be aware of that. When you visit Italy, it’s best to know the appropriate lingo and terms to use when ordering gelato. If you’re looking for a gelato flavor that contains caffeine, be sure to order Affogato which is made with espresso. If you prefer whipped cream on top of your gelato, you’ll want to order a Gelato con Panna. Ice cream sandwiches are referred to as Brioche con Gelato.
  • Gelato World Cup â€“ The International Gelato World Cup is real. It is formerly called Coppa Del Mondo Della Gelateria, people from across the globe attend to try the best gelato treats and sculptures. Since 2003, the Gelato World Cup has been held every 2 years which features ice sculptors, pastry chefs,  gelato makers, and chefs from around the world. The competition is arranged by Sigep – Italian Exhibition Group Spa and Gelato e Cultura s.r.l., and the principles it abides by are integrity, professionalism, and fairness. The Gelato World Cup collaborates with the World Committee of Honor, which is a board of professionals who oversee the transparency, reliability, and fairness of the competition. A selection is made from a group of 11 teams to compete for the world championship title based on 7 categories that include gelato, pastry, haute cuisine, and ice sculpture.

Arsenal 5 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0

Arsenal recorded a thumping win against Wolverhampton Wanderers to end a fine Premier League season with a flourish at Emirates Stadium. Mikel Arteta’s side, who were already assured of second place, ended the campaign on 84 points – the Gunners’ highest points tally since the ‘Invincibles’ team took the title with 90 in 2003-04. Their unexpected and exciting title challenge may have collapsed in recent weeks, but the hosts looked back to their best in this victory and were helped by passive opponents. Granit Xhaka, who has been heavily linked with a move to the Bundesliga, set them on their way when he nodded in Gabriel Jesus’ early cross from the right.

The Switzerland midfielder, who posted a ‘Thank You Gunners’ message on Instagram prior to kick-off, stroked in a second from close range to bring up Arsenal’s 100th goal of the campaign in all competitions after Wolves defender Max Kilman inadvertently deflected the ball into his path. With Wolves struggling to contain their fluent opponents, Martin Odegaard and Leandro Trossard combined down the right to present the ball to Bukayo Saka, who curled in a superb third. Arsenal showed few signs of letting up after the break, with Jesus heading in their fourth at the back post from Trossard’s pinpoint cross. It was a disappointing conclusion for Wolves, who finish 13th.

And their afternoon got even worse when goalkeeper Jose Sa fumbled Jakub Kiwior’s instinctive effort into his own net in the closing stages to gift Arsenal a fifth goal. While Arsenal missed out on a first Premier League title in 19 years, they delivered a celebratory conclusion to the season with a handsome victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Emirates Stadium. And on this evidence fans can look forward with an optimism that the best is still to come from Mikel Arteta’s young squad.  Several key players remained absent for this encounter but the Spaniard will hope that their return plus further investment in quality reinforcements, will provide further endurance to a team that excited before falling away in the title race.

Are ‘Dark’ Movies O.K. for Kids?

I think it kinda depends on the movies in question and how old your kids are. I started watching horror movies very young – aged 4 or 5 when I saw the first horror flicks that I vividly remember. My parents watched any good rated English language films back in the day because we had very little choice back then, depending on a video lending library to get us some movies to watch and the odd Sunday night movie that we got on tv (no cable) back in the early 80s.

So yeah I did watch them, hiding partially behind the sofa though. Before I turned 10 I remember that I had watched a few more horror classics that I absolutely love now. But each time I had an adult with me, either my parents or some uncles/aunts along with my cousins in India. In the case of my cousins and I, we got scared together. There’s some comfort in that shared fear. But those are the movies that I hold near & dear to my heart because, while they are awesome movies, it also reminds me of great times with my extended family.

I wouldn’t advise bloody & gory stuff or body horror/slasher porn films to be shown to kids under the age of 16. You could screw up some of their poor brains at an early age. I would advise parental guidance in terms of being there and offering some support if they get too scared. Ghosts, goblins, werewolves, zombies and the boogeyman are ok – but some movies might be too much for the young. Choose wisely.

Prompt from Over 1,000 Writing Prompts for Students at The New York Times Learning Network

Shrimp Tempura – A Delicious Snack With Drinks

The classic ultra-light batter is perfect with prawns for a light snack with drinks or as part of a Japanese feast. Japanese Prawn Tempura are light and crispy batter-fried prawns. This is a quick recipe and you can easily make it at home. Serve with hot Schezwan sauce or sweet chili sauce. Tempura is a well-known Japanese dish where vegetables or seafood are first dipped in a tempura batter and deep-fried in oil.


For the batter

  • 75g/2½oz cornflour
  • 75g/2½oz plain flour
  • 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
  • 188ml/6½fl oz beer

For the prawn tempura

  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 50g/2oz plain flour
  • 1.5kg/3lb 5oz uncooked king prawns, shells and central veins removed
  • soy sauce, to serve


  1. For the batter, sift the cornflour and flour together into a medium bowl.

  2. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and beer and whisk from the centre outwards, until just combined (it is okay if the batter is a little lumpy). Allow the batter to stand for a few minutes in a cool place.

  3. Heat the oil in a deep heavy-bottomed pan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)

  4. Place the flour onto a plate and dredge the prawns into it to cover well. Dip the prawns into the batter and carefully add to the hot oil to deep-fry in batches for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden.

  5. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

  6. Serve in bowls with a bowl of soy sauce for dipping.

Do Your Television Viewing Habits Include ‘Binge-Watching’?

At times. Usually it is a kind of show that is either very new or one that I haven’t watched yet, even though it’s been a few years since they last aired/were released. I kinda like a bit of variety in my tv watching and hence I like watching episodes of 2 to 4 shows every week. But sometimes I really get into a show, even if I have watched it before, and stick to that one show for several days. Like Stargate Atlantis or Star Trek Enterprise – these are two shows that I enjoy binge watching several episodes at a time but I have already watched it a few times before.

Some shows like CSI or CSI Miami I have binged several episodes days on end. And I think during the times that I have watched them, I wasn’t really watching any other shows. Supernatural is another one as was Flashpoint. When I was laid up due to illness I did binge sitcoms like either Friends or Corner Gas and I remember back in 2019 when I tore my ankle muscles on one foot as well as fractured the big toe on another, I binged Full House as it was a show that I hadn’t watched since it’s first airing on cable tv many, many years ago.

But other than those, I would only binge shorted season series like on Disney Plus, Amazon Prime that is all the rage these days because it’s more serialized rather than episodic. It makes it easier to binge watch as you need to get to the end to feel like you have watched something.

Prompt from Over 1,000 Writing Prompts for Students at The New York Times Learning Network


Legendary singer Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock) has died at the age of 83. Tina was an American-born and naturalized Swiss singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, and author. Widely referred to as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, she rose to prominence as the lead singer of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue before launching a successful career as a solo performer.

Turner began her career with Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm in 1957. Under the name Little Ann, she appeared on her first record, “Boxtop”, in 1958. In 1960, she debuted as Tina Turner with the hit duet single “A Fool in Love”. The duo Ike & Tina Turner became “one of the most formidable live acts in history”.[5] They released hits such as “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine”, “River Deep – Mountain High”, “Proud Mary”, and “Nutbush City Limits”, before disbanding in 1976.

In the 1980s, Turner launched “one of the greatest comebacks in music history”. Her 1984 multi-platinum album Private Dancer contained the hit song “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, which won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and became her first and only number-one song on the Billboard Hot 100. Aged 44, she was the oldest female solo artist to top the Hot 100. Her chart success continued with “Better Be Good to Me”, “Private Dancer”, “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)”, “Typical Male”, “The Best”, “I Don’t Wanna Fight”, and “GoldenEye”. During her Break Every Rule World Tour in 1988, she set a then-Guinness World Record for the largest paying audience (180,000) for a solo performer.

Turner also acted in the films Tommy (1975) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). In 1993, What’s Love Got to Do with It, a biographical film adapted from her autobiography I, Tina: My Life Story, was released. In 2009, Turner retired after completing her Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour, which is the 15th-highest-grossing tour of the 2000s. In 2018, she became the subject of the jukebox musical Tina. Having sold over 100 million records worldwide, Turner is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. She received 12 Grammy Awards, which include eight competitive awards, three Grammy Hall of Fame awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

She was the first black artist and first woman to be on the cover of Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone ranked her among the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Turner had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the St. Louis Walk of Fame. She was twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with Ike Turner in 1991 and as a solo artist in 2021. She was also a 2005 recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors and Women of the Year award.

Tina as in a very abusive relationship with her then husband Ike Turner but it was only in 1976 that she fled with only 36 cents and a Mobil credit card in her pocket to a Ramada Inn. After the divorce was finalized she struggled financially to support herself and her kids. Things got better for her in the 1980s when she toured steadily and then her big comeback smash of 1984 with Private Dancer. Later in life she converted to Buddhism and began living at Château Algonquin in Kßsnacht on the shore of Lake Zurich in 1994. She had met German music executive Erwin Bach in 1994 and despite he was 16 years her junior, they began a relationship. In July 2013, after a 27-year romantic relationship, they married in a civil ceremony on the banks of Lake Zurich in Kßsnacht, Switzerland.

Turner revealed in her 2018 memoir My Love Story that she had suffered multiple life-threatening illnesses. In 2013, three weeks after her wedding to Erwin Bach, she suffered a stroke and had to learn to walk again. In 2016, she was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. Turner opted for homeopathic remedies to treat her high blood pressure. Her hypertension resulted in damage to her kidneys and eventual kidney failure. Her chances of receiving a kidney were low, and she was urged to start dialysis. In 2013, three weeks after her wedding to Erwin Bach, she suffered a stroke and had to learn to walk again. In 2016, she was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. Turner opted for homeopathic remedies to treat her high blood pressure. Her hypertension resulted in damage to her kidneys and eventual kidney failure. Her chances of receiving a kidney were low, and she was urged to start dialysis. On May 24, 2023, Turner died at her home in Kßsnacht, Switzerland, aged 83, following a long illness, including cancer, strokes, and kidney failure in her final years.

So Tiring And Hectic These Past Few Days

I am so tired. The last week has been tiring and so has this week. It’s just a lot of stress at work and me moving about quite a lot. It doesn’t help that the section that I am now sitting in with a set of 48 frontliners on this massive floor is a lot warmer given that the air-conditioning seems to be very low here. It is terrible to sit there at times when they switch it off. Also checking and fixing things which is par for the course means I am on my feet and running around.

Monday I left the office on time since I had told a friend that I would meet her for coffee. Yesterday I stayed back for a while and reached home after 8 pm and I was dead tired on my feet. I started to feel aches all over. I just wanted to lie down immediately but I had to wait till after dinner. I ordered some channa masala for my folks and I which we ate with chapathi made at home. After dinner I was online for a while before I ate my usual apple and an orange before taking my medicines.

By 10:30 pm or so I would be ready for bed – not sleep but lying down in my bed. I would shut off the latop, switch the tv on to watch whatever it is that I am trying to watch. This time it is Ms. Marvel but I am struggling to stay awake. I switch the ac on for an hour and lie in bed to cool off as it is still very warm. I soon fall drowsy and then get up and switch the tv off and then the ac and the lights and go to sleep.

What Are Your Earliest Memories Of Music?

I can’t remember what were the first songs I heard as a small kid. I do remember liking ABBA and Boney M – the former in particular. My older sister used to play their songs for me a lot and I think I loved them a lot. Other than that it as usually kid songs, usually with the artists not really well known or at times eve credited.

I remember this one cassette of all kid songs that I absolutely loved and I would play it over and over again. I can’t remember the titles or the songs now but I do remember the feeling of playing it in the afternoon or evenings (before my cartoons or tv shows came on) and being so absorbed in the songs. I would ofcourse sing along.

Since then as I started listening to more and more of what my sister bought. Wham!, Culture Club, Stevie Wonder and Madonna was what she listened to and I sat along with her. At the of of 8 I got into Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 music and I developed my own taste since then.

Prompt from Over 1,000 Writing Prompts for Students at The New York Times Learning Network

Some Facts About The Delicious Biryani

  • Biryani is an authentic Mughal dish and its current-day closest relatives include Hyderabadi biryani and Awadhi biryani.
  • Hyderabadi kacchi biryani is a famous biryani type yet one of the simplest. One needs to marinate the chicken with herbs, spices, and curd.
  • Once the rice is cooked to perfection, you can enjoy delicious aromatic rice along with soft chicken pieces.
  • Hyderabadi pakki biryani is another famous biryani recipe where initially the chicken pieces are cooked along with the marinade. Once done, these pieces are layered with parboiled basmati rice. Eventually, for a short duration, the dum is cooked.
  • Sindhi biryani is another pretty famous biryani type that is especially well known for its spicy taste.
  • Sindhi biryani is a staple food in many parts of Pakistan and is prepared as a mixture of vegetables, basmati rice, spices, and meat of one’s choice.
  • Memoni biryani is largely inspired by Sindhi biryani owing to its spicy nature. This biryani type employs curd, fried onions, potatoes, mutton but does not use as much food color as other biryanis do.
  • One of the most interesting facts about biryani is that not all biryani types use basmati rice. Thalassery biryani which is native to the Indian state of Kerala uses khyma rice along with chicken and other spices which is unsurprisingly also its specialty.
  • Talking about Indian biryanis, one certainly cannot miss out on Kolkata biryani as it is one of the most delicious varieties of this rich dish.
  • Kolkata biryani is believed to be inspired by Lucknow biryani. This biryani type is uniquely known for using potato as a compulsory ingredient and employing a lesser amount of spices than other biryani types.