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Friday 12 July 2019

Weekly Reading - Some Interesting Stuff

1) Why plants don't die from cancer?
I recently watched the fantastic documentary series on Chernobyl. I would recommend it to anyone interested.
Chernobyl’s exclusion zone isn’t devoid of life. Wolves, boars and bears have returned to the lush forests surrounding the old nuclear plant. And when it comes to vegetation, all but the most vulnerable and exposed plant life never died in the first place, and even in the most radioactive areas of the zone, vegetation was recovering within three years.
Critically, unlike animal cells, almost all plant cells are able to create new cells of whatever type the plant needs. This is why a gardener can grow new plants from cuttings, with roots sprouting from what was once a stem or leaf.
All of this means that plants can replace dead cells or tissues much more easily than animals, whether the damage is due to being attacked by an animal or to radiation.

2) The downfall of Ranbaxy
The Ranbaxy story remains a fascinating one for me. How in a span of a few years, how the two Singh brothers managed to completely destroyed a reputed business is a lesson to be learnt for all.
In its race for profit, Ranbaxy had lied to regulators, falsified data, and endangered patient safety in almost every country where it sold drugs. Ranbaxy had not properly tested the stability of almost any drugs on the US market. The most basic good manufacturing practices require continuous monitoring of drug quality. 

3) Chinese private enterprises start stuttering
We’ve been smacked by roaring trains of nonsense this year. In April, drugmaker Kangmei Pharmaceutical Co. said that it overstated cash holdings by $4.4 billion, due to an accounting “error.” Kangde Xin Composite Material Group Co. didn’t skip a beat, telling us its auditor could find no trace of a 12.2 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) bank deposit.  “Qualitative factors are playing an increasing role” when assessing Chinese enterprises, S&P Global Ratings wrote in June. Put more bluntly: Firms may look great on paper, but the cash you see on their balance sheets may not even be there. 
A loss of investor confidence is the last thing private enterprises need as the economy stutters. With banks reluctant to lend, stock and bond offerings remain their key funding channels.

4) EV battery technology (for the uninitiated!)
There are, essentially, three problems to solve in order for batteries to truly transform our lives: power, energy, and safety.
In common parlance, people use “energy” and “power” interchangeably, but it’s important to differentiate between them when talking about batteries. Power is the rate at which energy can be released.
The article discusses the developments of battery technology and explains it well for laymen.

5) Brian Lara scores a half-century
Now, that the World Cup is over and we are all disappointed, let's go down memory lane with one of the greatest batsmen in world cricket - Brian Lara.

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