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Dreaming of eternal life

From the moment a child first sees the light of the world till up to the age of 5-10 years, his life is all about his parents and members of the family. The child is busy playing with toys and the need to put everything into its mouth. Life goes by smoothly for some and not quite for others. Studies, college, university etc pass by in a blur. The child grows up to have a family of its own. But then old age starts creeping up. A persons active life comes to an end or when s/he loses the energy to work accompanied by debilitating physical and mental changes. Diseases start to ravage the body and mind with the person needing constant care. In many cases the person becomes a burden to the family. And then the person probably begins to think

"Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie."

Let's digress for a moment with a fairy tale. Once upon a time there was a fisherman who used to sell his catch in the market to earn a living for his family. But suddenly he became ill due to old age and could not continue. He asked his son to bring whatever he would catch.

Next day when his son threw the net in the river, he saw that a tortoise was caught in his net. Not only that the tortoise could talk and requested him to set it free. In return she (the tortoise) promised to help him. He let it go and came back empty handed. When his father asked about his catch he told the story about the talking tortoise. The father became very angry and beat him. The second day the same thing occurred and the son freed the animal again. The third day the same thing happened yet again but this time the son said he would take the tortoise home. He narrated how his father beat him for not taking anything home, how he felt miserable. The tortoise then requested him to sit on her back and she dived many miles under the water finally reaching a beautiful kingdom. Suddenly the tortoise magically turned into woman. She was a princess andshe wanted the young fisherman to be her prince. She told her father the tales of how she was caught but then released by the kind fisherman and the king agreed.

The king bestowed a magic upon them that would allow them to retain their youth. After many years passed the fisherman missed his parents and wanted to see them. But his wife did not agree at first. When she let him go she handed him an air-tight jar and warned him not to open that jar.

Reaching his old village he found the place was greatly changed. The wide river had been transformed into a small canal. No one in the village recognized him. No one remembered his parents. He was very sad when suddenly he thought of the jar. Curiosity arose and he ultimately gave in. But as soon as he opened it something blew out quickly into the air. Suddenly he felt himself aging rapidly. He went to that village and told the people he was a young man there. When he told them about his life story they laughed at him. His feeble old heart could not take it anymore and he died. It's sad that he had the chance to live forever but unknowingly lost it all.

Can't scientists find a way to prevent aging? Science has progressed so much but still no one can cure the inevitable death. We are able to travel to distant worlds but still have to fall prey to old age. Even the creation of life has been solved to some controversial degree with the test tube baby and the cloning. If we can prevent the physiological changes for which gradually people grow, then no physical change take place in the human body. Similarly if we can identify and then stop the changes for which people lose their body resistance power, then people will not be attacked by various diseases.

Eternal life is the dream of many. Just imagine what could happen in the future and what it would be like to experience it all.

By Baizid Baten

Book review
Stupid White Men

The last thing I expected from my Environmental Communications class was for my teacher to hand me a political satire to read for enjoyment. Yet, there he was, Michael Moore, arms crossed against a backdrop of the US flag, smiling under a bold red title that read “Stupid White Men…and other sorry excuses for the state of the nation”.

If you've seen Fahrenheit 9/11 or Bowling for Columbine, you would be familiar with Moore's acerbic wit and tongue-in-cheek self-deprecatory humour. Well, if you liked those documentaries, you'll simply love this book.

Originally scheduled for release on September 10, 2001 (how's that for ironic?), this book talks about how the current US President 'stole' the presidency, and goes on to criticise Bush Junior's various policies and general boo-boos. He also attacks corporate America, and Democrats, and in the new UK edition, which I read, he's added a new introduction where he takes a swipe at the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, for not agreeing to release this controversial book which later went on to becoming a #1 bestseller.

There is a lot of controversy about what's written in the books, obviously. You don't just go and criticise the government and expect them to take it nicely. Moore backs up his allegations with tables, facts and figures, and also welcomes his readers to do their own online research to test the validity of his claims. When you're not laughing at his humorous hyperboles ('Kill Whitey' was my favourite chapter), you'll be shocked by some of the stuff in the book, like when he talks about the Mad Cow disease, or when he throws light on the education sector in the US. Whether you choose to believe him or not, he'll give you plenty to think about.

So if you're looking for a read that's serious, yet entertaining, then you really want to give this one a try. While you're at it, do check out his website at www.michaelmoore.com for chapters that never made it to print.

By Sabrina F Ahmad

Campus news

n the second day of March, the annual science fair was arranged at the premises of Marie Curie School Dhaka. This year 75 projects were exhibited by more than 300 junior scientists.


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