Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Man’s desire to experiment new modes of pleasures can be traced back to the time when Adam took the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. History says that, every culture, in various parts of the world, has used several methods to derive pleasure. However, drugs that alter mood, thought and feeling have been sought the most.
Any substance or product that is used, or intended to be used to modify or explore physiological systems or pathological states for the benefit of the recipient, is termed as a drug according to the WHO. An ideal drug is one, which has maximum efficacy with least or no toxicity and a large therapeutic index. No drug known today can be proved absolutely safe, because in practice, no drug produces only a single effect but has a spectrum of effects.
Of all the drugs used to derive pleasure, opium and its derivatives, and related synthetic compounds enjoy a unique place and have to their credit a very long history. Reference to opium dates back to 3rd century B.C. and it is believed that the Arabic physicians used it widely and introduced it to the Orientals. The Orientals used it to treat several ailments. Many others found it efficacious to relieve suffering. However, the drug fell into disrepute for a short while due to its toxic effects and inappropriate use.
Inappropriate use of a drug can be inadvertent or intentional. Though inadvertent in the beginning, it can become intentional very quickly, when the experience is pleasurable. Unrestricted availability (until early 20th Century), curiosity and influx of opium smoking immigrants from the Orient, caused accentuation of opium abuse in USA. The situation worsened with the invention of the hypodermic leading to parenteral morphine use, thereby causing a severe variety of compulsive drug use.

How people get hooked to this thing in under-privileged societies?
".....As he puffs deeply on his opium pipe in the evening gloom of histhatched-roof hut, Kya Teh is wreathed in clouds of sweet, heavy smoke.And slowly his pain disappears. The 56-year-old farmer started taking it as a form of medicine. Like most of the impoverished villagers in this remote drug-producing land in northern Myanmar, opium is the only medicine he can afford."

"....His addiction grew. Soon he was smoking three or four pipes of opium every morning, another three or fourpipes in the afternoon, and 10 or more every night. But a few years ago, Kya Teh felt a severe new sickness, a sharp pain in his lungs, and he began coughing up blood. Now his only happiness is the opium pipe. "If I don't smoke it, I feel the pain more and more," he said. "It's easier to sleep when I smoke. But then later I worry about tomorrow. I worry how I will get the opium tomorrow."

What happens when one decides to quit this thing?
".....At 28, Joe has become something of an expert at heroin detox - he's tried it nine times. Between programs, he's attempted to quit on his own. Once, when the cravings got the best of him, he tried to knock himself out by hitting his head against a brick wall. So late last year, when Joe checked himself into a New York outpost of Phoenix House, the country's largest residential rehab program, he knew exactly what to expect: the plastic cups of methadone to wear down his dependence, the sedated days and sleepless nights, the chill of the toilet seat, the sickening sight of food."

What is Methadone?
It's amber syrup that offers similar relief from opiate cravings but is highly habit-forming. First synthesized in the 1940s by German scientists and scooped up after the war by pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, methadone attracted attention in the addiction community in the 1960s. That's when a husband and wife team, doctors Marie Nyswander and Vincent Dole of Rockefeller University, found that with a daily dose of methadone and some counseling, opiate addicts had a much better chance of staying clean.

By law, methadone must be dispensed at special clinics and, for most patients, only in single daily doses. Widely prescribed beginning in the 1970s, methadone was medical science's first real attack on addiction, and study after study showed it prevented relapses and deaths by overdose. But public opinion swelled against it. Neighborhood groups battled methadone clinics, where patients congregate daily for their medicines. Politicians charged that junkies were merely swapping one habit for another. Methadone has been controversial among addicts, too. Some rejected it for producing a powerful sedative effect that makes it difficult for a recovering addict to perform job duties. Others took methadone illegally as a cheap tranquilizer.

The discussion
After reading all this I started asking myself, why do we blame people for getting addicted? What can Governments do to stop their citizens getting hooked to this thing? Many Governments still cannot provide basic amenities like water, electricity, and food to their citizens; then how can I believe that they provide medicines to them. And is the situation really different in developed countries? I say, No. Causes of getting addicted may be different but state of addiction is same. And the irony of situation is that policy makers and thinkers keep on discussing on putting end to "causes" while very little attention is given to end the "effect" also. We, the people, believe that due to tremendous growth in research in medicine, these old sufferings must have a medicinal solution. The truth is far from our imagination. People who want to get out of this killing habit have few options of treatment. Another angle is our viewpoint about addicts as weak people. We easily say, how difficult for anyone is to leave a habit if he exercises his willpower? Tell me, how many days one can survive without having water? Can one exercise his willpower and not sleep for 90 hours? One can exercise will-power to avoid things that one does with his will. For addicts it's the case of physiological dependence. Their bodies ache, they feel nausea, they vomit, they struggle to breathe, they bleed. And yes they do become "weak". Their sufferings are limitless.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Cult Brands - Zippo

I was introduced to Zippo lighters by one of my friends during my MBA days. Though I was smoking for quite a time, somehow I remained ignorant about this thing. I'd seen this lighter many a times on screen, but never known the histroy it carried. There's nothing much about the Zippo, still there's something in it. And to limit its mystic to its "click" and "thunk" would be like saying Harley Davidson's magic is only due to its patented audio rumble. Below is a compilation of some information on Zippo, that I collected from various sources. Enjoy it and become one of the Zippo Collectors.
A Zippo Lighter is a refillable, metal lighter manufactured by Zippo Manufacturing Company. They are highly collectible and hundreds of different styles and designs have been made in the seven decades since their introduction.
Zippos gained popularity as “windproof” lighters—able to stay lit in harsh weather. They became popular in the United States military, especially during World War II when all Zippo lighters produced went to the Allied war effort. Additionally, Zippos are known for the lifetime guarantee they carry: if a Zippo breaks, no matter how old, the company will replace or fix the lighter for free.
George G. Blaisdell founded Zippo Manufacturing Company (located in Bradford, Pennsylvania) in 1932 and produced the first Zippo in early 1933. It got its name because Blaisdell liked the sound of the word "zipper" (according to John Ratzenberger's television show "Made in America" and Zippo Manufacturing Company's website).
Since 1933, over 400,000,000 Zippos have been produced. After World War II the Zippo became increasingly used in advertising by companies large and small through the 1960's. Many of the early advertising Zippos are works of art painted by hand, and as technology has evolved, so has the design and finish of the Zippo. The basic mechanism of the Zippo has basically remained unchanged.
In 1986, Zippo began including a lot code on all lighters showing the month and year of production. On the left of the underside was stamped a letter A-L, denoting the month. On the right was a Roman Numeral which denoted the year, beginning with II in 1986. Thus a Zippo stamped H XI was made in August, 1995. However in 2000, Zippo altered this system, changing the Roman Numerals to more conventional Arabic Numerals. Thus a Zippo made in August 04 will be stamped H 04.

Trivia on Zippo
The highest amount paid for a Zippo lighter was $18,000. The 1933 model was purchased at the 2002 Tokyo Swap meet.
An average of 800 Zippo lighters are auctioned online every day.
There are over 4 million Zippo lighter collectors from all over the world
Original price of a Zippo lighter was $ 1.95
Basic concept of Zippo windproof lighter has remain unchanged for over 70 years
Zippo ran its first national advertisement in Esquire magazine in 1937
In late 1950s a Zippo was removed from the belly of a fish. The Zippo lit the first time.

Company Names - Part II

Daewoo - the company founder Kim Woo Chong called it Daewoo which means "Great Universe" in Korean.
Danone (Dannon in USA) - Isaac Clarassó in Barcelona made his first yoghourts with the nickname of his son Daniel
DHL - the company was founded by Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom, and Robert Lynn, whose last initials form the company's moniker.
eBay - Pierre Omidyar, who had created the Auction Web trading website, had formed a web consulting concern called Echo Bay Technology Group. "Echo Bay" didn't refer to the town in Nevada, the nature area close to Lake Mead, or any real place. "It just sounded cool," Omidyar reportedly said. When he tried to register, though, he found that Echo Bay Mines, a gold mining company, had gotten it first. So, Omidyar registered what (at the time) he thought was the second best name:
EMC2 Corporation - The Company was founded by Richard (E)gan and Roger (M)arino the E and M in EMC. There has long been a rumor that there was originally another partner (C) which provided for the third letter. Other reports indicate the C is just there to stand for Company (ie. E + M + Company = EMC). Since the company was to operate in the technology sector they adopted the EMC2 notation to refer to the famous Einstein Equation
Epson - Epson Seiko Corporation, the Japanese printer and peripheral manufacturer, was named from "Son of Electronic Printer"
Exxon - a name contrived by Esso (Standard Oil of New Jersey) in the early 70s to create a neutral but distinctive label for the company. Within days of announcement of the name, Exxon was being called the "double cross company " but this eventually subsided.
Fanta - was originally invented by Max Keith in Germany in 1940 when World War II made it difficult to get the Coca-Cola syrup to Nazi Germany. Fanta was originally made from byproducts of cheese and jam production. The name comes from the German word for imagination (Fantasie or Phantasie), because the inventors thought that imagination was needed to taste oranges from the strange mix.
Fiat - acronym of Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (Italian Factory of Cars of Turin)
Fuji - from the highest Japanese mountain Mount Fuji
GlaxoSmithKline - 2000 merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham
Google - the name is a misspelling of the word googol, reflecting the company's mission to organize the immense amount of information available online.
Häagen-Dazs - Contrary to common belief, the name is not European; it is simply two made-up words meant to look European to American eyes.
HP - Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the company they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett.

Hitachi - old place name, literally "sunrise"
Hoechst - from the name of a district in Frankfurt
Honda - from the name of its founder, Soichiro Honda
Hotmail - Founder Jack Smith got the idea of accessing e-mail via the web from a computer anywhere in the world. When Sabeer Bhatia came up with the business plan for the mail service, he tried all kinds of names ending in 'mail' and finally settled for Hotmail as it included the letters "HTML" - the markup language used to write web pages. It was initially referred to as HoTMaiL with selective upper casing. (If you click on Hotmail's 'mail' tab, you will still find "HoTMaiL" in the URL.)
Hyundai - connotes the sense of "the present age" or "modernity" in Korean.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Daily Quote

Successful people are very lucky. Just ask any failure.

Trivia - Comany Names (Part I)

ABN AMRO - In the 1960s, the Nederlandse Handelmaatschappij (Dutch Trading Society; 1824) and the Twentsche Bank merged to form the Algemene Bank Nederland (ABN; General Bank of the Netherlands). In 1966, the Amsterdamsche Bank and the Rotterdamsche Bank merged to form the Amro Bank. In 1991, ABN and Amro Bank merged to form ABN AMRO.

Accenture - Accent on the Future. Greater-than 'accent' over the logo's t points forward towards the future. The name Accenture was proposed by a company employee in Norway as part of a internal name finding process

Adidas - from the name of the founder Adolf (Adi) Dassler.

Adobe - came from name of the river Adobe Creek that ran behind the houses of founders John Warnock and Chuck Geschke.
Aston Martin - from the "Aston Hill" races (near Aston Clinton) where the company was founded, and the surname of Lionel Martin, the company's founder.
Audi - Latin translation of the German name 'Horch'. The founder August Horch left the company after 5 years, but still wanted to manufacture cars. Since the original 'Horch' company was still there, he called his new company Audi, the Latin form of his last name. In English it is: "listen!".
BASF - Initials of Badische Anilin und Soda Fabriken. Anilin and Soda were their first products. Badisch refers to the location in the state of Baden, Germany (Black forest region).
BenQ - Bringing ENjoyment and Quality to life
BMW - abbreviation of Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Factories)
BP - formerly British Petroleum, now "BP" (The slogan "Beyond Petroleum" has incorrectly been taken to refer to the company's new name following its rebranding effort in 2000).
Cadillac - Cadillac was named after the 18th century French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, founder of Detroit, Michigan. Cadillac is a small town in the South of France.
Canon - Originally (1933) Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory the new name (1935) derived from the name of the companies first camera, the Kwannon, in turn named after the Japanese name of the Buddhist bodhisattva of mercy.
Cisco - short for San Francisco. It has also been suggested that it was "CIS-co" -- Computer Information Services was the department at Stanford University that the founders worked in.

Coca-Cola - Coca-Cola's name is derived from the coca leaves and kola nuts used as flavoring. Coca-Cola creator John S. Pemberton changed the 'K' of kola to 'C' for the name to look better.

Colgate-Palmolive - formed from a merger of soap manufacturers Colgate & Company and Palmolive-Peet. Peet was dropped in 1953. Colgate was named after William Colgate, an English immigrant, who set up a starch, soap and candle business in New York City in 1806. Palmolive was named for the two oils (Palm and Olive) used in its manufacture.

Bad Predictions in Business History

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." --Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

"I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." --The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." --Western Union internal memo, 1876.

"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible." --A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" --H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." --Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." --Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." --Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." --Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899

"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction". --Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.

"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon". --Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon- Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873.

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." -- Bill Gates, 1981