Archive | July 2014

Nonstop Laughter Throughout 22 Jump Street

Bhaskar Chanda Movie Review22 Jump Street staring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill is an action comedy adventure that keeps the viewer laughing throughout the entire film. The directors of this film are Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. These directors also directed The Lego Movie and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Michael Bacall and Jonah Hill were the writers of this elaborate story.

The two main characters are Schmidt, played by Jonah Hill, and Jenko, played by Channing Tatum. The two are a tandem on an undercover police force and are set out to uncover a drug scandal on a college campus. Schmidt has his intelligence and Jenko relies on his athleticism, so naturally they make a great team. Ice Cube plays the tandem’s disgruntled boss. He plays an angry boss that yells a lot as hilarity ensues all around him. As Schmidt and Jenko head to college, their personalities take place in different social groups. Schmidt’s estranged personality and sense of humor gear him towards the artistic college kids while Jenko’s athleticism naturally lands him on the football team. They both begin to question their relationship as they are aligned with such different college crowds. Will they be able to put aside their differences, turn into men, and solve the case at hand? Or will their college selves take over as they fall deeper and deeper into the exhilarating abyss that is college? I’m not going to spoil the movie, but I will tell you what I thought about it.

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play great off of each other. Channing Tatum plays a slow, dumb jock while Jonah Hill plays a witty, athletic nerd. The two are perfectly juxtaposed for a comedy, and adding Ice Cube into the mix only makes it funnier. Typically sequels are not as good as the original, but I think 22 Jump Street might have topped its predecessor. Not only was the movie funny, but it also had a ton of action that was both suspenseful and hilarious at the same time. With non-stop laughter and some fairly good action scenes, 22 Jump Street is a must see in my eyes. 4.5/5 Stars

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Bhaskar Chanda’s Basic Guide for Backpacking Through India

bhaskar chanda India

Back in 2008, I was able to visit my country of birth, India, and backpack throughout the country, seeing sights that I have never seen before. I took many pictures, ate great food, and had some of the best experiences of my life in only ten days. I recently read an article in USA today that seemed like a great guide for backpacking through India. I thought I should share a couple of the highlights because I highly recommend the adventure.

The article starts off by stating that backpacking through India gives the traveler an authentic experience of India over the typical packaged guided tours that most tourists go on. USA today says that step one is to plan ahead. India is enormous with varying climates and multiple itineraries to chose from. Activities vary from hiking the vast icy mountains in Ladakhi to sightseeing in Mughal during the stormy monsoon season. There is a certain type of excursion for all sorts of travelers.

The next step is to apply for a visa. Travelers have to apply for a visa before they travel to India because they cannot be obtained in India. Step three is to purchase your tickets. The most affordable flights are typically to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai or Kolkata. After you land in India, the next train of thought is wondering how to get around. India has good transportation weather it is by train, bus, ferry or more local transportation from rickshaws, taxis, and tramways. India’s train stations are known to be chaotic, so proper planning is necessary before being immersed in one of these hectic stations.

The last step is of course the sleeping location. Along India’s backpacking trails, there are plenty of cheap hostels, hotels, and guesthouses. These locations usually have restaurants, laundry, Internet, and other touring information if travelers decide to explore the area a bit more.

These are the basics for when traveling to India. I visited the Meenakshi Amman Temple, saw the Harmandir Sahib, watched a Wagah border ceremony in Amritsar, walked along Goa Beach, took a boat down the Kerala in Alleppey, and of course was inspired by the Taj Mahal.

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Possible HIV Cure Using Stem Cell Therapy

Bhaskar Chanda Stem CellA recent article in SFGate discusses the cure for HIV and how stem cell therapy is developing towards a possible cure. Two teams of scientists from the San Francisco Bay Area are heading towards a method of HIV treatment that does not involve daily medication. It involves stem cell therapy. The scientists are focusing on DNA of elite controllers. These are people who are naturally resistant to HIV due to a mutation that prevents the HIV cells from attaching to their immune cells. An elite controller donated bone marrow to the first patient cured of HIV, Timothy Brown, and scientists believe that it was the genetic mutation of the bone marrow that lead towards Timothy’s recovery.

The article continues to state that bone marrow transplants are typically risky and expensive. Thus, a scientist would abstract stem cells from a patient’s bone marrow and alter the stem cells to become HIV-resistant. A discovery done in the mid-1990s found that there is a specific genetic mutation that blocks a certain protein called CCR5. HIV easily attaches to CCR5, so by eliminating CCR5 from immune cells, it would be much harder for HIV cells to attach to immune cells. Scientists believe that only one percent of the population contain this genetic mutation where their CCR5 protein is genetically altered in a way so that HIV cells can not latch on to them.

The article continues to state that once the altered stem cells are replenished in the patient’s body, they will be able to replenish the immune system without any other treatment or transplants. The hope is that once the genetically altered cells are put into the body, the immune system will produce more of the HIV-resistant cell as a response to fight the virus. This is considered to be a functional cure, where the HIV cells will still remain in the body, but they will not be causing any damage.

The ideal therapy would involve a patient receiving a single injection that would re-engineer the stem cells in the body rather than removing the stem cells and treating them in a lab.

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