Archive for July, 2013


The very first test-tube baby, Louise Joy Brown, was born at 11.47 p.m., 35 years ago today (on 25th July, 1978), at Royal Oldham Hospital (previously known as Oldham District and General Hospital), Greater Manchester, United Kingdom.
She was born via In Vitro Fertilisation. In Vitro Fertilisation, or IVF, as it is commonly known, is a means of artificial insemination where doctors fertilise a woman’s egg in a laboratory, before placing it in her womb to develop.

Louise Joy Brown 1st Test Tube Baby turns 35 today (25th July 2013)

John & Lesley Brown, had tried nine years to have a child, but could not, as Lesley faced complications to conceive due to blocked Fallopian tubes; making her body unable to let the ovum and the sperm converge, thus making natural fertilisation an impossibility.
In Autumn of 1977, Lesley Brown underwent a IVF procedure, developed by British Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Dr. Patrick Steptoe, and physiologist, Dr. Robert Edwards. Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2010 for this work on In vitro fertilization, and was knighted in 2011, at the Queen’s Birthday Honours, for services to human reproductive biology.

On July 25th, 1978, the couple gave birth to Louise Joy Brown, via Caesarean section.
Louise married a nightclub bouncer, Wesley Mullinder, in 2004. And on 20th December 2006, gave birth to a son, Cameron, conceived naturally.
Dr. Patrick Steptoe, died in 1988. Louise’s father, John Brown, died in 2006,and her mother, Lesley Brown, died in 2012. Dr. Robert Edwards, died earlier this year, on 10th April 2013.

Thanks to Edwards and Steptoe, and modern technology, by 2010, it was stated, that about four million children were born via In vitro fertilization. And this great 1978 breakthrough is science, laid the foundation to further innovations; such as intracytoplasmatic sperm injection, embryo biopsy, and stem cell research.

To read about another great breakthrough in science, see my post on Dolly

Cloned Dolly: 17th Birth Anniversary

Nuwan Sen n’ Science

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Beatle News  # 18 : Cannabis

  • 1967 – All four members of the Beatles, along with their manager Brian Epstein, sign a petition for the Legalization of Cannabis (and to release of all prisoners imprisoned due to possession of this illegal drug, plus to do further research into marijuana’s medical uses), which is published in the London’s daily Newspaper, The Times.

It was singer Bob Dylan who introduced Epstein and the Beatles, to this particular drug, in New York, in August 1964. Ringo Starr was the first to dare and try a marijuana (cannabis) cigarette offered to the band by Dylan, whereas Lennon, McCartney and Harrison were quite hesitant to do so. Soon The Beatles tried LSD, and by March 1967, both Lennon & McCartney had taken a couple of acid trips. McCartney was the first to admit that they’d all used drugs.

Earlier this year (2013), Paul McCartney officially endorsed the decriminalisation of marijuana.

This Day,

Nuwan Sen’s Music Sense. Nuwan Sen & The Beatles ().

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The Greatest feat of the Space age:
The day humans conquered the moon

44 years ago today; on the 20th of July, 1969; spaceflight Apollo 11; carrying astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins; lands on moon at 20:18 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).

Apollo 11 crew: (L to R) Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins & Buzz Aldrin. (NS)

Apollo 11 crew: (L to R) Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins & Buzz Aldrin. (NS)

Man on the moon

Just over six hours after the rocket lands on the moon, Neil Armstrong sets foot on lunar territory at 02:56 UTC (thus 21st July, 1969), making him the first human to set foot on the moon. Armstrong was heard stating, ‘‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’’, but he actually was supposed to have said, ‘‘That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind’’; making ‘‘one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’’, one among the few most misquoted lines in history.
Whilst Collins orbited the moon piloting the spacecraft on his own; Armstrong spent about two and a half hours outside the spacecraft; along with Aldrin, collecting lunar material to bring back to earth.

Shortly after returning to earth, Armstrong announced that he did not plan to fly into space again. He was appointed Deputy Associate Administrator for aeronautics for the Office of Advanced Research and Technology, Advanced Research Projects Agency. In 1970, he served on the investigation committee examining the Apollo 13 accident, where the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days into their journey, and shuttle was brought back to earth. In 1971, Armstrong resigned from NASA.

Neil Armstrong passed away last year, on the 25th of August 2012, twenty days after celebrating his 82nd Birthday.

To see my post on the First Man in Space, click on the link below:-

The American Civil War & Yuri Gagarin

Nuwan Sen n’ The Space age
Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense

Beatle News  # 17 : Abbey Road Album ()
The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)

The Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)

 

  • 1969 – Work on the song, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, begins for the Abbey Road Album. (Abbey Road Album was The Beatles last recorded album, though not their last release.)

John Lennon with new wife Yoko Ono, her daughter Kyoko, and Lennon’s son Julian, have an accident; whilst on a motoring holiday in Scotland; when a motorist came around on the wrong side of the road, in turn making the car Lennon was driving fall into ditch. All four of them were detained in Hospital. This was on the 1st of July, 1969. And eight days later, on 9th July, still recovering, Lennon and Ono make it to the studio for the recording of Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.
While Ono, who was far more badly hurt than Lennon in the accident, is resting in a large bed at the Abbey Road studios, Paul McCartney (who wrote the song the previous year, in October 1968, after his trip to India) and Lennon start recording the song Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.
Coincidently, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, McCartney’s first song on the album, is a song about a student Maxwell Edison, who first kills his girlfriend, then a lecturer, and finally a judge; which according to Lennon is about ‘instant Karma’, and as Paul McCartney apparently stated that the song, “epitomises the downfall of life. Just as everything seems to be going smoothly, ‘Bang Bang’ down comes Maxwell’s Silver Hammer and ruins everything.”

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This Day,

Nuwan Sen’s Music Sense. Nuwan Sen & The Beatles ().

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Beatle News  # 16

  • 1940 – Ringo Starr born as Richard Starkey, in Liverpool, UK

Ringo Starr pix

  • 1967 – All You Need is Love & Baby, You are a Rich Man, released in the United Kingdom.
  • 1969 – The Plastic Ono band releases Give Peace a Chance & Remember Love, in the United States (The two songs were released in the United Kingdom on the 4th of July 1969).

The song, Give Peace a Chance, was written during Lennon & Ono’s famous ‘‘ in Montreal, Canada; sung by Lennon & Ono, they were joined in by all the journalists who had come to interview the couple (on 1st June, 1969), and many celebrities; which included famed poet Allen Ginsberg and singer/actress Petula Clark. Give Peace a Chance also happens to be the first release of the Plastic Ono band. The Plastic Ono band was formed by Lennon & Ono, in 1969, before The Beatles famous Break-up the following year.

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This Day,

Nuwan Sen’s Music Sense. Nuwan Sen & The Beatles ().

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Beatle News  # 15
Beatle News # 15

  • 1957 – Paul McCartney meets John Lennon at the garden fete held at the Woolten Parish, St. Peters Church; where the Quarrymen were performing. (Quarrymen was a group originally put together by John Lennon, before the formation of The Beatles)
  • 1964 – A Hard Days Night, a movie starring the four Beatles, based on the groups frenetic lifestyle at the height of Beatlemania, premieres at the London Pavilion. Piccadilly Circus in London, UK, comes to a stand still with crazed Beatle fans, trying to catch a glimpse of the fab four at this world premiere.
  • 1966 – The Beatles arrive in New Delhi, India, on their way to London from Manila. This stopover gives them enough time to buy some Indian instruments. Out of the fab four, it’s George Harrison whose most enamoured by the various Indian musical instruments, their varied sounds and Indian art and culture.

A Hard Day's Night (1964)

This Day,

Nuwan Sen’s Music Sense.

Nuwan Sen & The Beatles ().

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Today, 17 years ago, Dolly the sheep came into this world.
She was the very first successfully cloned mammal in the world. English Embryologist, Sir Ian Wilmut, and British Biologist, Keith H.S. Campbel, were the two great scientist responsible for the birth of this cloned sheep, at the Roslin Institute, Midlothian, Scotland.

Dolly the Sheep

When I first learnt about cloning in school, I remember being fascinated by this unique concept of being able to create an exact copy of a person. There have been some very interesting movies in past based on artificial human cloning, which at the same time do debate on how unethical it would be to do so. Of course this debate is on artificial human cloning, not human cloning that occurs via a natural process of reproduction, in the form of identical twins. The term cloning itself refers to the creation of a genetically identical creature, of another; which occurs naturally in certain bacteria and plants that reproduce asexually. Another subject I enjoyed whilst studying in school, was about the Amoeba, a single celled organism that reproduces asexually, by splitting into two, in turn creating it’s clone naturally.

Cloning FilmsThe oldest good movie I remember watching as a teenager, was The Boys from Brazil (1978), somewhere in the early/mid 90’s, (when it was shown on a local television network), a horror film about the consequences of cloning a tyrannical ruler, in this case Hitler. And I remember being impressed by Jurassic Park (1993), not only due to the very realistic creation of the dinosaurs, but also Richard Attenborough’s, well detailed, yet simplified enough, explanation on the process of cloning. Of course, these movies do not glamorize cloning, and point out the negative results of unorthodox procreation of mankind (and extinct mammals in the case of Jurassic Park).

But none the less the creation of Dolly, was a great breakthrough for science. But unfortunately, this sheep, born on 5th July 1996, died aged six, on Valentines Day, ten years ago (on the 14th of February 2003). She was euthanized, as she was suffering from progressive lung disease and severe arthritis. Dolly spent her entire life at the Roslin Institute, and during her lifetime she did give natural birth to six lambs, fathered by a horned ‘Welsh Mountain’ ram.

Dolly the sheep was supposedly named after famed country singer, Dolly Parton (who is famous for her breasts as much as vocal talents), as the sheep was cloned from a cell taken from an adult ewe’s mammary gland.

Post Dolly, many other large mammals, like horses and bulls, have been successfully cloned till date. Even the extinct Pyrenean ibex, a wild snow-mountain goat, that was officially declared extinct 2000, was cloned in 2009, in Spain; but newborn ibex died shortly after birth due to physical defects in its lungs. That was the first attempt at cloning an extinct creature.

Nuwan Sen n’ Science

Six Degrees of Separation: from Dev Anand to

Dev Anand 6°

… Joan Crawford  
Dev Anand starred opposite a young Simi Garewal (1) in Teen Devian (1965), a film about a modern day poet who has affairs with three women at the same time; one a sophisticated classy lady, one a low income private secretary at a firm, and another sluttish film star, and the three women are aware of the other two and each wants him to make a commitment, and he finds it difficult to decide which one to spend the rest of his life with; Garewal played the rich classy lady, who refuses to go to bed with him until and unless he assures her he is only committed to her, and Garewal in her recent television talk show, Simi Garewal Selects India’s Most Desirable (2011) interviewed modern day pop sensation, who is famous for gaudy unique attire and independent style, as much as for her singing talent, Lady Gaga (2), who in her video, for the songYou and I, featured, the not so famous actor, Taylor Kinney (3), whom she subsequently started dating, and Kinney starred in Zero Dark Thirty (2012), a film directed by Kathryn Bigelow (4), who was the first female director to win the Best Director Oscar, in 2010, for the movie, The Hurt Locker (2008), about a bomb squad unit situated in war torn Iraq, in which Guy Pearce (5) had a small role, and Pearce starred in the American television mini-series, Mildred Pierce (2011), which was a re-make of the classic, Mildred Pierce (1945), and for this original Hollywood version Joan Crawford (6) bagged the best Actress Oscar in 1946.

 … Diane Keaton
Dev Anand played a ‘Musicologist’ in Man Pasand  (1980), which was based on the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw (1), as was the Hollywood musical My Fair Lady (1964), where the fair lady in question was played by Audrey Hepburn (2), who starred alongside Albert Finney (3) in Two for the Road (1967); a film which chronicles the ten year relationship of a couple, from it’s roots to marriage with kids to it’s deterioration; all artistically told with a sandwiched timeline, set along the scenic routes of the French Riviera; and Finney starred in Erin Brockovich (2000), which was based on an actual story, exposing a cover up conspiracy by the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, about their illegal toxic waste dumping site, which was poisoning the residents of that area, for which Julia Roberts (4) won her first, and only, Oscar till date, in 2001, and Roberts starred in the rags to riches rom-com, Pretty Woman (1990), which was again like a late 80-isq re-telling of the My Fair Lady story; whereas Hepburn played a slum woman who turned into a Princess, here Roberts played a streetwalker who turned into classy lady; and the suave and sophisticated gentleman responsible for this transformation of thispretty woman, was played by Richard Gere (5), and Gere appeared in Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977), where Diane Keaton (6), played a school teacher by day, and a violent, sexually craving, bar cruiser, by night.

 … Vidya Balan
Dev Anand starred in Paying Guest (1957), which co-starred Nutan (1), who starred in Anari (1959), with Raj Kapoor (2), and Kapoor starred in Andaz (1949), which co-starred Nargis (3), who played the titular role, in Bollywood’s most famous colourful epic till date, Mother India (1957); Mother India to Indians is like what Gone with the Wind (1939) is to Americans, it’s Bollywood’s bible; and Sunil Dutt (4) played her tyrannical  son; during filming of Mother India, the set caught on fire, and Dutt jumped in to save Nargis, she nursed the severely injured Dutt, and they fell in love and married; their son Sanjay Dutt (5), starred in Parineeta (2005), which co-starred Vidya Balan (6), who was a jury member at the ‘Cannes film Festival 2013’ , two months ago.

… Priyanka Chopra
Dev Anand starred with Vyjayanthimala (1) in Jewel Thief (1967), and Vyjayanthimala, starred alongside Raj Kapoor (2) in Sangam (1964), and Kapoor’s brother Shashi Kapoor (3) appeared in Deewaar (1975), which co-starred his close friend Amitabh Bachchan (4), whose son, Abhishek Bachchan (5) acted with current Bollywood A-list female star, Priyanka Chopra (6) in Bluffmaster! (2005).

 … Olivia Hussey
Dev Anand played a man who works as a guide, falls for a married woman, and later has spiritual awakening, in Guide (1965), which was based on the novel The Guide, by R.K. Narayan (1), and in the Broadway adaptation of which, from late 60’s, Pakistan (British-India) born British actor, Zia Mohyeddin (2), played the lead role in, and Mohyeddin starred in The Assam Garden (1985), which co-starred Deborah Kerr (3), who played a nun in Black Narcissus (1947); yet another colourful film filmed in the Indian Himalayas, in North East India, and released in May 1947, almost three months prior to India’s Independence from the British; in which British actress Jean Simmons (4) played an Indian girl called ‘Kanchi’, and Simmons later starred in a May/December romance alongside Leonard Whiting (5), in Say Hello to Yesterday (1971), who starred in the best adaptation of Romeo and Juliet (1968), with an under aged Olivia Hussey (6) playing ‘Juliet’.

… Denise Richards
Dev Anand starred in Return of the Jewel Thief (1996), which co-starred Anu Aggarwal (1), forty-odd years his junior, who appeared in Aashiqui (1990), now the sequel, Aashiqui 2 (2013) stars Aditya Roy Kapoor (2), who came in the comedy Action Replayy (2010), which, directed by Vipul Shah (3), was a Bollywood remake of the cult-classic, Back to the Future (1985), which happens to be Michael J. Fox’s (4) most popular film till date, who starred in the sit-com Spin City (1996- 2002), and when J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, as his illness intensified and found it difficult to continue working on this series, semi-retired in 2000, he was replaced by Charlie Sheen (5), who was at one time married to Denise Richards (6).

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense ()

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