Why is ‘abbreviation’ such a long word?

Abbreviation: Origin and History

Em: Emma, I was wondering, how come abbreviation is such a long word?
Emma: Because “Abbreviation” is not an abbreviation, Em.
Em: Ha ha very funny. I’m sure there is more to it than that.
Emma: Actually I did read something about the origin of the word being fairly short. It started with “brevis” which is Latin for “short” and also the root of “brief”
Em: Then how did it get sooo long?
Reason: “Ab” was added to “breviare” to make it “abbreviare”, a verb meaning “to shorten”; then it got converted to a noun by adding “-ionem” at the end becoming “abbreviationem” which means “something that has been shortened”. Then the “em” was removed and voila!
Em: That explanation was way too long for the word abbreviation.
Reason: NO popcorn for you.

Susurrous

What does “Susurrous” mean?

Have you ever struggled for a word to describe a sound? A sound which is soothing or comforting? Susurrous is a word for one such sound. Pronounced as Suu-suh-rus, it means emitting a whispering or rustling sound. It stems from the Latin word susurrare and is used as an adjective. It is always used in a positive context unlike ‘hissing’.

The Discovery of Oxygen

When did we discover we needed oxygen for respiration?

We can’t live without oxygen…literally. Of course, everybody knows that. However, that wasn’t the case in the mid-1700s. People were unaware of a substance called “oxygen” that supported respiration.

Who discovered oxygen?

“Oxygen” was discovered almost simultaneously in three parts of the world. So, there is a lot of contention regarding who discovered it first. The major credit though goes to Joseph Priestley as he was the first one to publish his findings.

Here is the series of events that let the discovery of “oxygen” as we know it now.

Timeline of discovery of oxygen

In 1972 Carl W. Scheele from Sweden heated several compounds including potassium nitrate, manganese oxide, and mercury oxide and found they released a gas which enhanced combustion. He called this gas “fire air,” but did not publish his findings.

How was oxygen discovered as an element?

Then, in 1974 Joseph Priestly, an English chemist, independently conducted an experiment using a 12-inch-wide glass “burning lens,” with which he focused sunlight on a lump of reddish mercuric oxide in an inverted glass container. He found that the gas emitted, was “five or six times as good as common air.” He called this gas “dephlogisticated air”. In later tests, it caused a flame to burn intensely and kept a mouse alive about four times as long as a similar quantity of air. He published his findings in the same year.

How did oxygen get its name?

Later, Antoine Lavoisier, a French chemist, also conducted experiments which lead him to the discovery of “oxygen”. In 1775, he was the first to recognize it as an element, and coined its name “oxygen”- which comes from a Greek word that means “acid-former”.

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The unflappable albatross

The wandering albatross can travel 500 to 600 miles in a single day without even flapping its wings. It can maintain speeds higher than 127 km/hour for more than eight hours. This is the skill of dynamic soaring imbibed in the albatross.

What makes albatross fly high without flapping?

Scientists have proved that an elbow lock system allowed the albatross to keep its wings open at no energy. But researchers have been observing albatross for years and have now gained an insight into what makes them go high without flapping.

The soaring secrets of the albatross

The albatross gains height by angling their wings while flying into the wind. Then they turn and sweep along for about 100 meters. This is known as dynamic soaring. First they climb along the wind, then they turn from windward to leeward when they are at their flying peak, then they slightly make a leeward descent and finally a curve from the leeward to windward at an angle which makes them soar without flapping. This dynamic soaring allows for sustained flight. They can actually fly much faster than wind speed.

Why is an idea mostly associated with a light bulb?

Why does a light bulb represent an idea?

  • When active, Our brain produces electrical currents due to nearly 100,000 chemical reactions occurring in it per second.
  • These chemical reactions are carried out in our brain by tiny cells called neurons.
  • Neurons process and transmit information through electrical and chemical signals that they pass on to each other.
  • They pass this information at the speed of 420 km/hr.
  • Which is faster than the speed of a race car!
  • After processing this information, when we arrive at an insight, our brain literally lights up!
  • That is why an “idea” is usually associated with a light bulb.
  • The moment when we get an idea, is also referred to as an ‘Aha’, ‘Eureka’ or ‘light bulb’ moment.

More Information –
Click here to know how a light bulb works.

Karma

What does “Karma” mean?

“Karma” is a Sanskrit word which means deed, work or action. It mainly means that the actions or intent of an individual will determine his or her future, and is the spiritual principle of cause and effect. If you do good, then you can expect good to happen to you, but if you do bad, you can only expect bad to happen to you. Basically the word “Karma” confirms to the saying, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

Cows transfixed by saxophone sound!

Sam Greenfield played his saxophone to attract the attention of cows at the New York State Animal sanctuary.

Do cows like music?

The cows- Jesse and Amos, were grazing and were not in sync with their surroundings. When Sam came there with his saxophone; initially the cows were sceptical of the moves and sounds but eventually walked up to Sam for a close up view of him and his soothing saxophone music. The cows seemed calm and rather in love with the music being played. In fact, one of the cows showed appreciation by licking Sam’s face after he stopped playing the saxophone.

Seems like even cows have developed a love for the musical instrument!

Phosphene

What does “Phosphene” mean?

Have you ever closed your eyes and then pressed your eyelids with your fingers? Most of us have done it. What happens when we do that is, we feel a sensation of lights. Each of us might see these lights in different ways. Some might see them as spots while some might see them as lines, floating stars, zigzags, swirls, spirals or squiggles. Everyone sees them is different colours too! So, phosphene can be called a phenomenon characterized by the experience of seeing light without light entering the eye.

To read and download more Wordling HERE.

The Story of Holi

Why Holi is Celebrated?

Holi gets its name from Holika, demon king Hiranyakashyap’s sister. Hiranyakashyap had got a boon from Lord Vishnu that he would not be killed by man or animal, at day or night, inside or outside, above or on the ground.

So Hiranyakashyap said that only he should be worshipped, not God. His own son, Prahlad continued to worship Lord Vishnu. This made his father angry. He asked Prahlad to jump from a mountain, but he remained unhurt.

Even when Hiranyakashyap made Prahlad jump in a well, he was unharmed.

Hiranyakashyap tried to poison Prahlad. The poison turned to nectar in Prahlad’s mouth.

Then, Hiranyakashya ordered that wild elephants should trample Prahlad, but he was not hurt.

Next, Prahlad was put in a room with poisonous, angry snakes, but still nothing happened to him.

Finally, Hollka made Prahlad sit on a pyre with her. She was protected by a shawl that kept her from being burnt. The shawl flew from her to Prahlad. So, Holika burned, Prahlad was safe.

Lord Vishnu appeared as half-man, half-lion and killed Hiranyakashyap at dusk, on his porch steps.

A Holika bonfire is lit every year to remind us of the victory of good over evil. Holi is celebrated on the day after the bonfire.

Click here to watch the story of Holi in Hindi!

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What to do when you don’t get what you want?

How to get what you really want?

What to do when you don’t get what you want?
Everyday, you have something you would want or like to do.
‘want + Getting what you want = Happiness

But not everyday do you get to do that, do you?
‘want’ + Not getting what you want = Sadness

So, what do you do when you don’t get what you want?
The first emotion you feel is anger. Allow yourself to feel it completely. No need to act on it. Decide that you will not do anything until the feeling of anger has a lesser grip on you.

Once you allow yourself to feel angry completely, you will feel tired. Do something that helps you relax. Something that will distract you from what you are not able to get.
‘Want’ + Something you already have = Happiness

Find something you already have and let yourself indulge with it.

It takes time to get what you want. Sometimes a lot of time. But in the meantime you can still be happy instead of angry. Eventually you do end up getting what you want.

What you really really wanted.

For more such interesting General Knowledge articles and videos for kids.

Cruciverbalist

What does “Cruciverbalist” mean?

Solving crossword puzzles is fun and many people enjoy it. There are some people who don’t just enjoy it but strive to excel at it and with practice become skilled at solving crossword puzzles. There are so many people who take solving crossword puzzles and acing it seriously, that there is a word to describe them! It is “Cruciverbalist”. Cruciverbalist is a Latin word pronounced as Cru-civer-ba-list.

Banana – An energy-booster

What are the health benefits of one Banana a day?

Most of us might not like this wholesome fruit, but did you know that a banana a day can also help you keep the doctor away? Bananas make our bones stronger, prevent anemia and most importantly power our brains. If you are running low on energy, have a banana and get that instant energy rush. Bananas are very rich in vitamins and minerals. A medium sized banana contains almost 420 mg of potassium which helps greatly in bodily functions.

Are bananas good for weight loss?

If you are worried about your weight, eating a banana will satiate you for a longer duration. This you can cut down on the junk you might have in between meals. An added advantage of a banana is, if you rub the peel on your teeth, it will make them white instantly!

Discovery and Control of fire by early humans

Discovery of fire by early man

Contrary to popular belief fire was not invented but discovered and tamed by man. When lightning struck a forest and created fire, it probably intrigued and amazed the early man. Many scientists believe that the controlled use of fire was most likely first achieved by our ancient human ancestor known as Homo erectus, and not Homo sapiens or Neanderthal as commonly believed. Homo erectus became the first hominin to master flames by accident, possibly in order to cook their food.

How did the control of fire lead to human evolution?

The control and manipulation of fire was a turning point for human evolution. It gave birth to cooked food. Cooking allowed the early man to consume more calories and, as a result, to develop larger brains.

Control of fire also helped one to ward off predators and venture into harsh climates. It also had important social and behavioral implications, like encouraging groups of people to gather together and stay up late.

Culaccino

What does “Culaccino” mean?

You see it almost every time you lift up a glass from the table. That circular mark left on the surface. You always wonder if there is a word to describe it. Well, there is! It is Culaccino. The Italian word is pronounced as koo-la-chieno and it has no direct English translation!

Rats laugh when tickled!

Do rats laugh? Do rats get tickled?

Rats can laugh when tickled was known by the year 2000, but the new discovery states that they can laugh only when they are in the mood for it.

What happens when rats get tickled?

Scientists have located parts of rat’s brains that respond to tickling. The brain region also plays a role in forming rats’ moods. So a rat will laugh when tickled only if it is already in a good mood. This laughter is caused at high frequencies but is inaudible to humans. When tickled on their back, stomach and tail; rats have high pitched vocalisation laughter. The tickled rats also display a behaviour called ‘joy jumps’ where their front and back legs move in tandem.

So next time you see a rat at home and are in no mood to poison it; you can maybe tickle it and keep them as a pet!

Panchatantra: Who will Bell the Cat


Once, a great number of mice used to live in a grocer’s shop. They ate the fresh, tasty wheat, rice, bread, cheese and biscuits that were kept in the shop. They were having a great time and living easy, comfortable lives, growing fatter day ......

Once, a great number of mice used to live in a grocer’s shop. They ate the fresh, tasty wheat, rice, bread, cheese and biscuits that were kept in the shop. They were having a great time and living easy, comfortable lives, growing fatter day by day.

But the grocer was concerned about the losses that he was suffering because of the damage done to his stock by the mice. So, he thought of a solution and bought a big, fat cat to keep in his shop.

From that day onwards, the cat began to catch the mice every day. The mice were terrified of even stepping out of their holes. They could not reach the food anymore. This was a great cause of worry for them. They decided to call a meeting of all the mice in the shop to discuss this problem.

They got together and started thinking. One of them suggested that they must get rid of the fat cat but no one could think of a way of doing so. So they kept thinking of other ways. Finally, one mouse spoke up, “We should tie a bell around the cat’s neck. That way, whenever the cat is near or is coming in our direction, we would get to know by the ringing of the bell and we can quickly run back to our holes.”
This idea was much appreciated by the other mice. They thought that this was the best plan. They began dancing and celebrating with joy. But their celebrations did not last very long for soon an old and experienced mouse said, “You fools! Stop celebrating and first tell me: who will bell the cat?”

None of the mice had an answer to this question. They had not thought about this major problem in their seemingly perfect plan. This is why it is said that making a plan is one thing but executing it is an entirely different thing.

For more interesting Panchatantra stories for kids, go to : Panchatantra stories

For other interesting stories for kids, browse though our huge collection of short stories here : Stories for Kids

Whale Facts and Information

Whales! One of the biggest and most amazing creatures that inhabit the earth. They are found in all the oceans of the world. These incredibly huge and magnificent creatures are mammals that have fully adapted to life in the water, which means they’re descendants of animals that millions of years ago used to live on land!

13 Interesting Facts about Whales

  1. Whales are closely related to dolphins, porpoises, and hippopotamuses.
  2. There are two main types of whales – baleen whales and toothed whales, and they are classified based on their feeding patterns.
  3. Baleen whales have two blowholes, whereas toothed whales have just one.
  4. Whales love moose! As in, moose are their favorite prey.
  5. Whales need air to breathe! They drown if they remain underwater for more than 30 minutes.
  6. Whales don’t sleep for long. And when they do, only one half of their brain sleeps at one time. This is to ensure that they wake up and go to the surface to take in air.
  7. The blue whale, the largest animal in the world, is bigger than a basketball court.
  8. The water in a blue whale’s mouth weighs about as much as its entire body!
  9. There is only one all-white humpback whale known to exist in the whole world.
  10. You can tell the age of a whale by counting the rings in its earwax.
  11. Some whales, like the blue whale and the humpback whale, have been known to sing.
  12. Many expensive perfumes contain whale poop.
  13. A sad fact is that humans are the biggest threat to the survival of whales. Hunting by humans is the biggest reason for the decline in whale population.

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Why do roses have thorns?

One of the most beautiful flowers in the world is roses. They are a symbol of love and friendship and have an amazing fragrance. Roses are red, pink, white; in fact, there are over 100 species of roses around the world!

The Purpose of Thorns

Roses come with sharp spikes or thorns. Botanists call them ‘prickles’. These are small outgrowths from a plant’s epidermis or the outer layer. Prickles are similar to thorns but unlike thorns, prickles are easier to remove. Scientists believe that roses have thorns to protect them from being eaten by animals who might be attracted to them due to their sweet fragrance.

Story of Roses and Thorns – Native American Tribes

The Native Americans believe that many years ago the rose bush had no thorns. They were just pretty pink roses with leaves and a smooth stem, emanating sweet smelling fragrance. But they made an easy catch for the rabbits and other predators that ate up entire bushes many times. The rose bushes met and decided to go to Nanahboozoo, a man who had magical powers. He was angry as the rose bush planted by him had also been eaten by rabbits. The rose bushes who came to see him, told him their story and Nanahboozoo gave them small thorn like prickles to cover their body so that no predator would eat them.

So roses are able to grow bigger and prettier each year by using their prickles to scare off animals who intend to eat them up.

Learn how to draw a rose in a simple and interactive way.

Two Headed Snakes

A normal, single-headed snake can give most people the creeps, but add to it another head, and it’s a whole new level of creepiness. It almost sounds made up, doesn’t it? But it’s not. As bizarre as it sounds, two headed snakes do exist. In fact, two headed snakes are much more common than any other two headed creatures.

Why do some Snakes have two heads?

Let’s find out more about this seemingly bizarre phenomenon.
Two headed snakes are a result of what is known as bicephaly, meaning the phenomenon of an organism being born with two heads. This is the same process that causes conjoined twins to be born. The birth of Siamese or conjoined twins occur when the embryo splits while developing and growing into identical twins, but for some reason does not complete the process of splitting before they are born. The point at which the embryo stops separating varies with each birth therefore, snakes can be joined at any part of the body. They are thus, two beings that share organs, and one of them is a parasitic head.

Knowing about the life of a two headed snake has been made possible by studies of captured specimens, although it has been found that just like conjoined humans, the life of most two headed snakes is also quite difficult.

4 Interesting Facts about Two-Headed Snakes

Two headed snakes are basically two snakes with a common body, each unaware of the other’s existence. Thus, you can imagine the difficulties they face –

  1. They fight each other for food.
  2. If one of them eats, both of them feel full, and this causes confusion, for the one that didn’t eat.
  3. They have two brains, each giving them directions to go in. This again, causes confusion, and often results in the dominant one dragging along the other one.
  4. When attacked, their survival instincts are often different. This causes them to lose time before taking action, and in many cases, costs them their safety.
    Thus, survival in the wild is a major issue for two headed snakes. In captivity, however, they can live upto 20 years, with the right head usually being the dominant head and the decision maker. Many zoos and circuses have these on show, and certain museums have preserved specimen on display.

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Cobras Facts

16 Amazing Facts about Cobras

  1. Cobras are one of the most feared snakes in India.
  2. Cobras are worshipped in many Indian religions – known to be one of the Avataars of Gods.
  3. They are known for their threatening hood at their neck which they spread out when they feel threatened or angry. This hood is made up of flaps of skin attached to long ribs.
  4. Due to their striking pose, even when they lift their heads high up off the ground to search for food, they look scary. Especially when they hiss loudly to scare off potential predators.
  5. The cobra is found more in hot tropical climates- like the Philippines, Southern Asia and Africa.
  6. With more than 270 species; they are usually brown, brownish-black or a dull grey and their venom fangs are half an inch long.
  7. The largest cobras found are the King Cobra.
  8. They are found on land, trees and also in water in tropical climates of Asia.
  9. They generally have a life span of 20 years.
  10. The King Cobra preys on lizards, birds, rodents and even on other snakes. Baby Cobras itself have a length of 18-22 inches.
  11. The smallest cobras are the Mozambique Spitting Cobras.
  12. The spitting cobra can spray venom upto more than 1.8 meters, or 6 feet. They have such perfect aim that they will spit venom straight into the eyes of their prey.
  13. Cobras have excellent night vision and detect their prey with their keen sense of smell.
  14. Their jaws are flexible allowing them to open up the mouth really wide to swallow their prey easily.
  15. Their metabolism is so slow that they need to eat every couple of months.
  16. Cobras are used by snake charmers because they respond well to visual cues. These charmers specialize in getting the Cobra to rise up and “hood-out” to please tourists.

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The Statue of Liberty

9 Fabulous Facts about The Statue of Liberty

  1. It all started at dinner one night near Paris in 1865. A group of Frenchmen discussing their dictator-like emperor and the democratic government of the U.S decided to build a monument to freedom. Thus was born the lady Liberty.
  2. The sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi imagined the monument to be the statue of a woman holding a torch burning with the light of freedom. And she was finally built by Gustave Eiffel with the help of tons of workers working ten hour days, seven days a week for nine years!
  3. In 1886 on October 28th, France dedicated the statue to America. The statue was to be a universal symbol of freedom. The seven points on her crown represent the seven seas and continents. The crown also has 25 windows you can look out of. You would have to climb 354 stairs(22 stories) to do that though.
  4. It is said that she was modeled after the image of the sculptor’s mom, but represents ‘Libertas’, the Roman Goddess of Freedom. She arrived in America in 214 crates, and was assembled thereafter. When she first arrived, she was copper colored. 30 years of oxidation turned her color green. The amount of copper used to build her could make 30 million pennies!
  5. Lady liberty is 151ft and one inches tall. Along with her pedestal, which is 154 ft tall, the entire monument comes to height of 305 ft 1 inch from the ground! She sure is one tall lady!
  6. Although she is one tough metallic lady, she does sway to the wind – a very fast one though. It takes a 50 mile/hr wind to sway her torch by about 6 inches! So much? Well of course! We expect nothing less from a statue that weighs 450,000 pounds!
  7. Did you know that she wears size 879 sandals on her 25 ft long feet?
  8. Lightning doesn’t strike twice, it is said…. or does it? The lady liberty is estimated to be hit by about 600 bolts of lightning every year! Yikes!
  9. Although she now has an American island to her name, she could have ended up at the mouth of the Suez canal in Egypt, if they hadn’t rejected her for being too old fashioned!

The statue of Liberty sure has a lot of interesting history, doesn’t it?

More Information

13 Fun video facts about The Statue of Liberty

Penguin receives Norwegian Knighthood!

Why was a penguin knighted by Norwegian Army?

The knighted Penguin in Edinburgh has already been a corporal, a sergeant, a sergeant major and a colonel in chief. The history of Nils Olav goes back to 1972 when the Norwegian King’s guards visited the Edinburgh zoo. They were looking at the Penguins in the zoo and were so thrilled to see the penguins that the Major at the time decided that he had like to adopt one penguin.

The adopted Penguin was named Nils Olav, after the Norwegian King at the time. Later in 1982 the Kings guards returned to Edinburgh and decided to make the penguin their mascot by giving him the rank of lance corporal. Unfortunately, he died shortly after his promotion to sergeant. But he was lovingly replaced by Nils Olav II, his two-year-old near-double.

It was Nils Olav II who was awarded the knighthood. And a third penguin, Nils Olav III took over between 2008 and 2016 and has been promoted to Brigadier.

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Indian Army Day

We are safe in our homes because there are men protecting us, guarding the borders of our nation and keeping the enemies away- yes, they are the Indian Army men.

They are courageous men in olive green who have made the nation proud and filled our heart with pride and gratitude.

When was Indian Army formed?

The Indian Army was formed in 1776 under the British Government. It originated from the armies of the East India Company, which eventually became the British India Army. It was only in 1949 when Lt. General Cariappa (later Field Marshal) took over as the Commander-in- chief from the British Government that the Indian Army was formed and Army Day was celebrated.

On this day parades and military shows take place in the National Capital- New Delhi. This special day also marks a day to salute all valiant, heroic soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our nation and the people of this country.

Why can’t we feel the earth spinning?

Why we don’t feel earth’s rotation?

Every 23 hours and 56 minutes our planet earth completes a full turn around its axis. It spins at a constant rate. The atmosphere, along with the earth and everything else on the planet is moving at the same speed. But still we cannot feel the spinning movement of the earth.

What is Earth’s Axis?

An axis is an invisible straight line that runs through an object from one end to the other. The earth and all other planets and satellites in the universe have an invisible axis. The earth rotates on its axis and completes one day. The next day it starts a whole new spin. The earth travels at a constant speed. It doesn’t slow down or accelerate all of a sudden. If the earth would suddenly increase speed or put on brakes we would definitely feel that movement!

It’s like moving in a car. If you are sitting in a car riding through a highway, you do not feel the movement. Of course you feel it when you see outside your window and see things moving away. But you feel the movement only when the car slows down or puts sudden breaks.

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What makes stamps valuable?

Why do we need stamps?

The first stamp was issued in 1840 in England. Up until then the postage price was paid by the receiver of the mail. However it got difficult to collect money from receivers who refused the mail. What a waste of time, energy and effort! That’s when the idea of a stamp sparked as it ensured the prepayment of mail.

Why do people collect stamps?

A stamps later became something like time capsules. They carried a little information about the history, geography, art and culture of a particular time. So, a good stamp collection gives you a view of the world from any era you would want.

The value of a stamp

The value of a stamp is defined by

  • Age of the stamp
  • Place where it is issued
  • Condition of gum on the stamp
  • And the perforation

Stamps become more valuable once they are discontinued. The lesser the total number of a stamp available in the market, the more valuable it is to collectors.
Stamp collections give us a sense of belonging. It helps us to share the history of the world with each other.

Makar Sankranti Celebration in India

Tilgul Ghya Aani God God Bola

“Til-gul ghyaa, aani goad-goad bola” –meaning, take this sweet and say sweet things. I’m back in India at the right time it seems! Sweet tooth that I am, I’m happy to be here in India to celebrate Makar Sankranti. Also called Uttarayan (or the day on which the sun begins its northward journey), it’s a festival celebrated on January 14, every year. All other Indian festivals are celebrated as per the lunar calendar, which make their days of celebration on the solar calendar vary every year. It is the only Indian festival celebrated on a fixed calendric day of the solar calendar.

Makar Sankranti in Maharashtra

Makar Sankranti is known by different names and celebrated with different customs in different parts of the country, and marks the arrival of spring in India. I’m in Maharashtra right now, where the custom is to wear black, and exchange sweets known as ‘til-gul’. Another interesting tradition they have in multiple parts of the country is to fly colourful kites. Quite a group activity it is! Kids and adults alike fly brightly coloured kites. There are even kite flying competitions! So much fun isn’t it?

Asking around, I found out that in India, during this festivals, farmers typically plan their future crop cycles along with celebrating the current harvest. And the best part about this is that the farm animals are also a part of the meeting! That’s kind of sweet isn’t it?

The one thing I love about traveling all over the world is that I always stumble upon such fascinating and fun customs and traditions! And the oh-so-delicious food, that is always a given with the festivities. And trips to India are always accompanied by lip-smacking food!

Related Article:

Read all about Makar Sankranti, the festival of kites, visit: https://mocomi.com/makar-sankranti-festival/

International Folk Tales: How the Dragon Came to be


In a small village of China, lived a boy named Chi Yu with his mother. They lived in a tiny house surrounded by lovely green meadows covered with fresh, green grass.

Every morning Chi Yu would go out in the meadows, cut the green grass ......


In a small village of China, lived a boy named Chi Yu with his mother. They lived in a tiny house surrounded by lovely green meadows covered with fresh, green grass.

Every morning Chi Yu would go out in the meadows, cut the green grass and put it in a basket. He would then take it to the farmer Hieun Tse, who fed his cows with it. In return, Chi Yu got a jar of rice from the farmer.

Suddenly, there were no rains in the region for two years in a row. All the green grass of the meadow turned brown and dry. Chi Yu looked everywhere for some green grass for the farmer’s cow, but couldn’t find a single blade of grass anywhere.

One day while searching for grass, he noticed a patch of fresh green grass in the field behind the tall hills. He immediately cut the green grass and took it to the farmer. Every day he would come there and cut the grass and it would grow back the next morning.

A few days later, while slashing the grass he noticed a small shiny golden bead in the grass. Fascinated by its beauty, he took it home and hid it in an empty rice jar.

Next day, he was surprised to see that the empty jar of rice was now filled to the top! Every time Chi Yu emptied the jar, it would fill up again.

Chi Yu understood that the bead was the reason behind this miracle. He was very kind so he shared the rice with the entire village.

All the people in the village were happy except for the farmer.

His cows were starving without the grass and he wanted the golden bead for himself.

He offered Chi Yu all his money, farm and house in exchange for the bead. But, Chi Yu did not agree.

Hieun Tse, then, decided to steal the bead of gold. One night, while Chi Yu was sleeping, the farmer quietly entered his house and was about to steal the jar when Chi Yu woke up at the sound. Chi Yu rushed to the jar and swallowed the bead immediately.

Chi Yu still did not feel better; he became hotter and hotter and started breathing fire. Yellow and orange flames came out of his mouth.

Chi Yu did not realize that it was an extremely unwise thing to do. The bead started burning inside him and he felt extremely thirsty. He drank up all the water in the house. He then drank up all the water from all the houses of the village. He then drank up all the water from the pond. He emptied the lakes and swallowed the entire river.

Gradually, he changed into a creature that breathed fire. Unfortunately, he could no longer live in the village and had to go far far away.

For more interesting Indian Folk Tales for kids, go to : Indian Folk Tales

For other interesting stories for kids, browse though our huge collection of short stories here : Stories for Kids

How to Draw a Cake

There is no party without a cake! In next 2 minutes you can draw your own from this step-by-step video.

4 Steps to draw a Cake

  1. Draw two small ellipses. Connect them by drawing straight line on right and left side of the ellipses.
  2. Draw two medium ellipses below the small ones. And two big ellipses at the bottom.
  3. Draw curvy lines on each pair of ellipses like you would decorate a cake.
  4. Now fill the colours and make merry!

For more such cool How To Draw videos go to : Drawing for Kids

Evolution of Language

Where did language come from?

Language developed as the human species evolved. Development of language sets us apart from our closest relatives, the chimpanzees.

No other natural communication system is like human language.

Human language can express thoughts, convey information, ask questions and give orders.

In contrast, animal can only communicate immediate issues such as food, danger, threat, or reconciliation.

How did language evolve?

Did a bunch of cavemen hold a conference and decide to make up language?

Obviously not.

One theory is that hominids (our human ancestors) started by grunting, hooting and crying out, and this gradually developed into the language we use today.

But apes could grunt and hoot as well. Why did their grunting not evolve into a ‘language’?

Because 6 million years ago the hominid and chimpanzee lines diverged.

The size of the hominid brain increased and developed over time, while chimpanzee brain remained the same.

Another theory is that language began as sign language and then switched to the vocal modality.

Did languages develop simultaneously all over the world?

Some have argued that language evolved independently in different parts of the world.

While a recent study shows that all languages in the world evolved from one prehistoric language first spoken in Africa tens of thousands of years ago.

And it spread across the world with the migration of our ancestors when they left Africa 70,000 years ago.

Do languages stay the same over the generations?

Languages change as they are handed down from generation to generation due to change in culture and influence of other languages. That is why the English spoken in the Elizabethan Era is way different from the English we speak today.

The subject of language and its evolution is still undergoing lively investigation among linguists, psychologists, and biologists.

Note – Read more about the history of Sanskrit, Latin and Greek language.

Resolution? What Resolution?!

Keeping a new year resolution is a common western tradition. But it has now caught the attention of everyone worldwide. More of a fashion statement now, here are some interesting facts about new year’s resolution :

Fun Facts about New Year’s Resolutions

  • Almost 4000 years ago it was the Babylonians who promised their Gods that they will pay their debts at the beginning of every year.
  • Then the Romans also began each year by making promises to their Gods. Thus started the resolution parade.
  • Studies show that only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions.
  • Almost 30 percent of people never make new years resolutions because they know they won’t be able to keep it.
  • But people who make new year’s resolution are ten times more likely to achieve their goals than the ones who don’t.

Click here and get more New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Kids.

New Year’s Eve in Copacabana

Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro

Hollaa amigos! Can you guess where I am? I’m at Rio de Janerio to start my new year with a big bang! Music and passion are always in fashion at the Copa..Copa Cabaaannaa..! Have you heard the song? After Carnaval, this is the biggest party of the year at Copacabana in Rio! So exciting!

And it’s also very interesting. On December 31st, in the daytime, flowers and candles are sent out onto the ocean as offerings to honor ‘Iemanja’, the Afro-Brazilian sea goddess of fertility and motherhood. Around 7pm, along the Copacabana beach, New Years’ Eve officially kick-starts, with live shows by artists, bands and DJs alike.

Come midnight, the New Year is welcomed with a 20 minute display of spectacular fireworks. From then on, it’s the start of an all-night party. I’m here with over a million people, and all of us strangers are happily sharing champagne and celebrating the arrival of the New Year together. These brilliant festivities, and food and accommodation are all organized by the major beach hotels at Rio de Janerio.

You may be wondering if there’s a dress code. Well, everyone wears white here. And a smile. They tell me white signifies good luck and romance, and I want both in my life so I’m going to follow suit. Boy am I glad I got here well ahead of time – most roads are blocked past afternoon, even though the authorities have organized transportation very well. The Metro has a special schedule, with pre-booked tickets, and urban bus rides are free!

I am so happy ad grateful to be celebrating at this amazing party!! Happy New Year to you!!

Related Article:

New Year Celebrations Around the World, visit: https://mocomi.com/new-year-celebrations-around-the-world/

Santa Claus Gift Bag

Ouch… my head bumped!

What’s this? A Candy bar! A teddy bear with a big bow, a little dolly and so many presents!

Ho! Ho! Ho! Hmmm…is it Christmas already? Oh my!

I am inside Santa’s Gift Sack!

Santa Claus is secretly giving away gifts to little children who have been good. He makes a list of children and categorises them into ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’. Then he delivers the gifts from his bag to the nice children and coal to the naughty ones.

Wow! Here are the glittery Christmas balls too. Santa might just drop them with the gifts into one your stockings! They symbolise three gold balls or bags of gold which Santa once gave to a poor man and his three daughters.

This bag is really heavy but Santa lifts it with complete ease and fits inside chimneys.

Let me see what he gifts me this Christmas. For now I gotta go and get my stocking up before Santa passes my house. Bye!

Related Article:

Read the real Story behind Santa Claus, click here!

How to Draw a Train

Pack your bags and get ready to take the train! In the next 2 minutes learn how to draw a train from this simple step-by-step interactive video.

6 Steps to draw a Train

  1. First draw a rectangle, like a train engine.
  2. Draw three small ellipses inside the left side of the rectangle, like a face of the engine.
  3. Draw small one square on top of the rectangle and two rectangles on top of that small square.
  4. Draw one rectangle and two squares in the straight line. Draw small squares inside these shapes like a window.
  5. Draw wheels on the bottom and connect all these shapes like the way train compartments are connected.
  6. Now fill the colours and start your train. Choo Choo!

For more such cool How To Draw videos go to : Drawing for Kids

14 Squirrels arrested for spying!

Arrested: 14 squirrels on charges of espionage!

Iran had felt threatened by animal agents in the year 2007 when the Iranian Intelligence officials arrested 14 squirrels. The officials claimed that these rodents were serving as spies for the Western enemy nations; determined to chip away at the Islamic Republic.

How can animals serve as spies?

This seems bizarre but animals have been used in the past for spying purposes; serving in the military since 1908. The Germans first used Pigeons by attaching cameras to them to take aerial pictures. Pigeons have been used in World War II to fly critical intelligence matter out of occupied France. The US had earlier tried to strap bombs to Bats and drop them over Japan before using the atomic bombing method. Dolphins and Seals are trained by the US to identify underwater mines. They can disable enemy swimmers too. US Marines in Kuwait are said to have trained chickens for a low-tech chemical detection system.

How much does the sky weigh?

Or is it weightless?

The sky does have weight. It is made of air and air is made of all kinds of gas molecules. Those gas molecules have weight!

If sky has weight, then how is earth carrying that weight?

Weight of the air is evenly distributed over the earth’s surface. Since air moves around easily, it presses on us from all the directions. If it was to be only on top of our heads, it would knock us down to the ground.

How much does air weigh?

The average weight of air that presses down on us (called air pressure) is 14.7 lbs (6.6 Kg) per square inch of earth’s surface. Which is roughly more than 11 billion billion pounds (5.2 million billion metric tonnes)

This means the sky weighs 14.7 lbs per square inch of earth surface which is roughly 11 billion billion pounds.

So, you can say that sky weighs one millionth of the mass of the Earth.

Which equals to 570,000,000,000,000 adult Indian elephants!

More Information:

CLICK HERE Why does the Sky change Colours?

Names of Santa’s Reindeer

“Rudolph the red nosed reindeer…” most of us are familiar with this song. But do you know the names of all of Santa’s furry, horned friends?
The carol “Night before Christmas” gives us the names of 8 of these magical helpers. Rudolph, you might be surprised to learn, was only added to the list in 20th Century. Before Rudolph, there were only these

What are the names of Santa’s 9 Reindeer?

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Blitzen.

But it’s never fun just knowing the names is it? So let’s get to know a bit more about Santa’s magical helpers –

1. Rudolph –

Of course, we all know about him as he’s the most famous one of them all! He’s the youngest member of the team and his shiny red nose lights up the sky to help Santa find his way in bad weather.

2. Blitzen –

Blitzen’s name comes from the German word for lightning. True to his name, Blitzen always charges ahead. His special power is the ability to infuse his team with lightning, to make them zoom around faster. This ability is particularly handy when Santa’s running in late.

3. Donder –

Donner, just like Blitzen, is a name of German origin. It means “thunder”. And Donder has a thunderous presence and a loud booming voice! A proud animal, Donder loves singing along with Santa.

4. Cupid –

Cupid, as the name suggests, is the most affectionate one of the lot. With Christmas reins decorated with green and red heart-shaped bells, Cupid’s motto is to spread love, which is often accomplished by placing mistletoe over unsuspecting people.

5. Comet –

Never far away from Cupid, Comet is as fast as his name implies! His laid-back charm and easy going nature make him a hit with the kids. He really is quite adorable, which is why Santa often takes him to check up on kids. The handsome Comet is an inspiration for kids to be on their best behaviour.

6. Vixen –

Vixen is playful and charming, and quite foxy! She is witty and easy-going and makes everybody laugh. The kids love her tricks, and Santa cleverly uses this when he forgets a gift on the list!

7. Prancer –

The most majestic of them all, Prancer is light on his feet and looks impressive as he kicks and speeds through the air. He loves prancing around with the elves in Santa’s factory, and Santa loves taking him whenever he wants to make a grand entrance!

8. Dancer –

With a passion for dance, Dancer, too is blessed with Grace. Dancing around with Prancer, the pair are a sight to behold! Dancer is gentler than Prancer, but is deceptively fast! Santa loves the ease and elegance with which she handles her job, and often takes her along with Prancer on rides to impress.

9. Dasher –

Last, but certainly not the least, comes Dasher. Dasher is known best for his bursts of speed, which come in especially handy when the holiday gift list is long. Together with Blitzen, he makes timely deliveries possible and Santa loves him for it.

So now we know all about Santa’s reindeer. Of course, everyone has different stories to tell about them. But that’s what makes them so magical, doesn’t it?

Related Article:

Santa’s Sleigh Game for Kids, visit: https://mocomi.com/santas-sleigh-game/

Tenali Raman: Tenali Raman And Two Thieves


One summer night, when Tenali Raman and his wife were about to sleep, he heard a rustling sound of leaves coming from outside.

There was not even a slightest breeze blowing at the time, so he presumed that there were some thieves hiding in the ......


One summer night, when Tenali Raman and his wife were about to sleep, he heard a rustling sound of leaves coming from outside.

There was not even a slightest breeze blowing at the time, so he presumed that there were some thieves hiding in the bushes. He figured that they must be planning to rob his house in the night.

He thought of a plan and said to his wife, “My dear, I have heard that some notorious thieves are on the loose in our neighborhood. So, let’s hide all the jewellery and money that we have in the well.

A little later, Tenali Raman and his wife came out of the house carrying a big trunk, and dropped it into the well. Then they went back inside the house, and pretended to be asleep.

The thieves waited for a while and then started drawing water from the well.

They hoped to empty the well and get the treasure. The thieves kept drawing out water the entire night. Towards daybreak, they managed to pull out the trunk, and when they opened it, they were extremely shocked and disappointed to see only some big stones in it.

They understood that it was Tenali Raman’s plan to outsmart them. Just then, Tenali Raman came out of his house and said, “Thank you friends, for watering my plants. I must pay you for your labour.”

Hearing this, the thieves fell at Tenali’s feet for forgiveness. They promised not to steal or rob anyone ever again. Tenali decides to let them go.

Moral- Keeping cool and using your wit in dire situations can help you get out of them.

  • For more interesting Tenali Raman stories for kids, click here.
  • For other interesting stories for kids, browse though our huge collection of short stories here.

How to Draw a Mouse

It’s fun rooting for the underdog. Wouldn’t you want the mouse to win in a cat and mouse chase? Have fun by learning to draw a mouse. You just need a pencil and a paper to start drawing a mouse in next 2 minutes!

12 Steps to draw a Mouse

  1. Draw a slightly s-shaped curve.
  2. Draw a big circle around the upper part of the curve like a face.
  3. Draw three strokes across the curve within this circle, descending in size.
  4. Draw a smaller circle around the bottom part of the curve.
  5. Draw two small circle on left and right top side of the big circle like mouse’s ears.
  6. Outline the small circle and the big one like a face.
  7. Draw eyes on the first stroke drawn within the big circle, nose on the second stroke and mouth on the third stroke.
  8. Draw ears in smaller two circles.
  9. Erase the strokes and the outline.
  10. Connect the upper circle with the lower one.
  11. Erase the lower circle. Draw legs, hands and tail.
  12. Now fill the colors and play with the mouse.

For more such cool How To Draw videos go to : Drawing for Kids

An office desk is dirtier than a toilet seat!

Bacteria are found in office space too!

Thousands and thousands of germs reside on an office desk, rather than on the toilet seat. It is becoming easier to catch the flu or an infection from being at your office desk. A typical office worker’s hands come in contact with 10 million bacteria per day, say researchers. And do you know what is the item on your desk that contains the most germs? It is the phone. A normal phone call would have 25,000 germ microbes listening to your conversation. The Keyboard and computer mouse come next in line.

How dirty is an office desk?

The areas on a desk where one’s hand rest contain about 10,000 germs.

Clean up the office desk!

But one can keep oneself safe by cleaning their desk often, washing hands, using one’s own phone instead of someone else’s and by not eating food at one’s workspace.

How to Draw a Football

In this simple step by step guide learn how to draw a Football in a simple and interactive way. You just need a pencil and a white paper to start drawing a Football in next 2 minutes. And then, it’s a goal!

6 Steps to draw a Football

  1. Draw a circle.
  2. Draw two triangles with slightly curvy lines. (it should not touch the circle)
  3. Draw curvy lines connecting corners of these two triangles to the circle.
  4. Draw pentagons around each visible corner of the triangles.
  5. Erase lines inside the pentagons.
  6. Color the pentagons in black colour.

For more such cool How To Draw videos go to : Drawing for Kids

Venus – Hottest Planet in the Solar System!

How hot is Venus?

Temperature of planet Venus can reach up to 870 degrees Fahrenheit with winds up to 450 mph. So you can cook a pizza on Venus’s surface in approximately 7 seconds,
but you might just get crushed in its atmosphere!

Yes, the second closest planet to the sun is the hottest planet of the solar system.

Why is Venus the hottest planet?

Although Venus is not the closest planet to the sun, its atmosphere is extremely dense and traps heat in such a way as to cause the runaway greenhouse effect in which the oceans boil away from the surface. The surface pressure on Venus is 90 times more than Earth.

The atmosphere is made up of carbon dioxide with clouds of sulphuric acid. Nitrogen appears but only in small doses. This makes the surface hotter than Mercury.

During the evolution of Venus, ultraviolet rays from the sun might have evaporated the little water on Venus, thus making the planet totally dry. Venus is full of volcanoes and scientists have so far discovered 1600 of them, and these are only the big ones!

Panchatantra: How Monkeys Got Their Red Bottoms

Once upon a time, there was a village called Dancing. A group of young girls and boys lived in that village. Every night after dinner, they would light a fire and dance around it.

One evening a monkey came to the dance, wearing smart clothes and ......

Once upon a time, there was a village called Dancing. A group of young girls and boys lived in that village. Every night after dinner, they would light a fire and dance around it.

One evening a monkey came to the dance, wearing smart clothes and a stylish hat. He came and sat in a corner on a stone. No one recognised that he was a monkey. He also played melodious music with his drums.

Every night, the monkey would come and play and the girls dance with him happily. The girls loved him more each day. They also started showering him with gifts. One of them gave him a ring, the other gave him cookies

The boys were extremely jealous, as the attention of all the girls was always focused on the monkey.

“Who is this new fellow and what is he doing in our village?” the boys asked one another, and decided to keep a close eye on him. That night they watched him quietly from a distance.

The boys simply could not believe their eyes when they saw that the person the girls loved so much was a monkey in reality. It had a hairy body and a long tail.

That night the guys laughed their hearts out and finally slept peacefully.

The boys decided to play a prank on the monkey. They burnt some wood and put it around the stone where the monkey sat every day, and covered it with leaves.

Like every evening the monkey came and sat on its usual place, only this time it did not feel the same. “OOOUUUUCHHHH!” screamed the monkey and jumped up from its seat. The hot stone had burnt his bottom through his pants. The monkey jumped into a bucket full of water to comfort himself.

But it was too late. The monkey had already left the village to never come back.

Ever since, monkeys have had red bottoms.

For more interesting Panchatantra stories for kids, go to: Panchatantra stories

For other interesting stories for kids, browse though our huge collection of short stories here: Stories for Kids

Why can’t chickens fly high?

Chickens can fly, but not very well. It has been found that a long time ago, almost 4000 years ago; chickens were domesticated from the wild birds known as the ‘forest fowl’ found in India. Now, the forest fowls were like the Turkey and they depended mostly on their legs to run from predators. They used their wings just a little bit in order to hop and reach a safe point.

Ancestors of chicken

Some say the ancestors of chicken are the red jungle fowl found in Southeast Asia. Years went by. The forest fowl which was domesticated was now turned into what we know as the chicken.

How high and far can chickens fly?

Now, the real reason why chickens cannot fly is because of their bone structure and weight. The chickens that we know today are shorter, have heavy bones and more weight for their body, making it difficult for them to fly. Though they can hop and fly to a short distance. The world record for a flying chicken is 305 feet in 13 seconds before touchdown! Chickens are natural sprinters. They may not soar high like the eagle but they are really swift. Try catching a chicken next time, you will see for yourself!

Christmas Celebrations in different countries

How is Christmas celebrated around the World?

Christmas is the time for celebrations, gifts, fun, family, food, prayers and wishes. Christmas is usually celebrated among the Christians but since the world is becoming a global village, Christmas is now celebrated in every part of the world. The traditions, the festivity or even the dates might differ, but Christmas remains the festival of spreading love and joy. Let us see how Christmas is celebrated in different parts of the world.

1. Christmas in Bethlehem

Let us start with the little town of Bethlehem, Israel, where baby Jesus was born. Every Christmas the city is adorned with flags and beautiful decorations. Here Christmas is not observed on a particular day since people of Bethlehem come from various Christian backgrounds. While the Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrate Christmas on 25th December; the Greek, Syrian and Orthodox Christians celebrate it on 6th January, while the American Christians here celebrate it on 18th January. A cross is painted on the doors of every Christian home and scenes from the Christmas story are depicted in every household. A parade takes place where galloping horsemen and police mounted on Arabian horses, followed by solitary horsemen carrying a cross, followed by Churchmen and Government officials.

2. Christmas in Australia and United States of America and Britain

The Christmas traditions are more or less similar here with only one exception- Christmas in Australia is never white as it hardly snows there during that time. While the other nations enjoy a white, snowy Christmas, Australia is filled with bright sunshine and warm climate. Candles, Christmas trees, gift giving and feasts with delicious turkey and plum cakes are the most popular way of celebrating Christmas in these nations.

3. Christmas in China

In China Christian children decorate the Christmas trees with colorful ornaments in the shape of flowers, chains and lanterns and these ornaments are made of paper. They hand long, old stockings and expect the Santa Claus, whom they call ‘Dun Che Lao Ren’ or the ‘Christmas Old man’ to come and fill them with gifts. In China, children are the main focus of Christmas celebrations. This day they also worship their ancestors.

4. Christmas in Japan

Japan has only 1% Christian population and for them Christmas celebration is not about family and gifts but more about helping the community and doing nice things for others, like helping the poor or sick people. Their Santa Claus is a Buddhist monk called Hotei-osho.

5. Christmas in India

Christians in India are found in every community and state. Usually the Indian Christians decorate mango and banana trees. They decorate their houses with mango leaves and lamps made from clay. Churches are decorated with lights and candles and people flock the well lit streets to celebrate the Christmas festivities in the evening.

6. Christmas in Egypt

Christmas in Egypt is celebrated on 7th January. They are usually Coptic Christians who observe a fast for forty days during which they do not eat meat, poultry or dairy products. They meet during the Christmas day and after the prayer ceremony at the Church they go home and eat their special meal known as ‘fata’. They visit friends and neighbors and gift them ‘kaik’ a shortbread which is eaten with a drink called shortbat.

7. Christmas in Russia

Here Christmas is celebrated as the ‘festival of winter’. People start fasting for 39 days until January 6th, when the evening star appears in the sky. After which they start their festivities with a twelve course meal which mainly consists of fish, beetroot soup, and cabbage stuffed with millet and most importantly cooked dry fruits. Babushka, meaning grandmother, is their traditional Christmas figure who distributes gifts to children.

8. Christmas in Romania

Carols form a very important part for the Romanians. Romanian carols are not just simple songs, but a way to allow people to surpass all difficulties in life. Children move from one house to another singing Christmas carols and narrating legends. The leader of the group carries a large wooden star, covered with shiny paper and decorated with bells and ribbons. The main attraction of their feast is a Pig which is nicely cleaned and cooked.

Christmas Related Articles :

How to Draw a Santa Claus

In this simple step by step guide learn how to draw a Santa Claus in a fun and interactive way. You just need a pen and a paper to start drawing a Santa Claus in the next 2 minutes!

13 Steps to draw a Santa Claus

1. Here comes Santa clause, here comes Santa clause! First draw small
oval for Santa’s face, then starting mid way through the first oval
draw another large oval for Santa’s body.

2. Draw the letter W at the base of the large oval for Santa’s legs.

3. Draw a vertical and horizontal line across the face to position the
facial features of Santa.

4. Three semi circles on top of the small oval with a small circle
makes the cap of Santa.

5. Starting from the side of the cap right down to the stomach of
Santa, in the shape of a leaf make Santa’s beard.

6. On the small oval draw two small leaves either side, one small
circle to join the two thus forming Santa’s moustache.A curved line
under the leaves will form the mouth of Santa.

7. Erase the lines as shown

8. With the help of circles draw the eyes for Santa and don’t forget
about the glasses.

9. Two straight lines on either side of the stomach will be the arms for Santa.

10. Now draw two concentric circles with two straight lines on either
side to make the belt.

11. Draw two L’s below the buckle of the belt to form Santa’s coat.

12. Draw two boots for Santa’s legs .

13. Finally colour your Santa and watch him HO HO HO!

Click here and learn how to draw a Christmas Tree in a fun and interactive way.

How to draw a Christmas Tree

In this simple step by step guide learn how to draw a Christmas tree in a fun and interactive way. You just need a pen and a paper to start drawing a Christmas tree in the next 2 minutes!

13 Steps to draw a Christmas Tree

  1. Ho ho ho! Get ready to welcome Santa Claus by drawing a Christmas tree for him. First, let’s draw the pointy top of the tree. Draw a line at an angle downwards, make leaf marks and draw a line at an angle again to meet the point you started with.
  2. Draw another, bigger similar layer below this one, to continue and make the tree’s middle. Like this, draw one more, still bigger layer, so that there will be room for presents under your tree!
  3. Draw a couple of straight lines to make the trunk of your Christmas tree. What is your tree standing on? Make some wavy lines below the trunk to indicate snow.
  4. Now, it’s time to decorate your tree! Start at the bottom left end and make standing jagged semi circles, from the last pointy part to the penultimate one, for snow. Now, skip to the right side of the second layer to do the same.
  5. Now, draw some streamers at the tree’s top. Make curved ribbon like shapes at the start and end of the tree top.
  6. Lights time! Draw semicircles hanging from the first layer for them. Draw a curved diagonal line across the second layer. Like this, draw lines across the third and fourth layers too, starting from the right side.
  7. Draw small circles on these lines for the lights.
  8. Draw a stocking in the middle left of the tree and decorate it.
  9. Draw a candy cane on the other side, in the next layer.
  10. You can draw a bow below the candy cane, in the final layer.
  11. Draw a star below the stocking.
  12. Colour your tree! You can alternate light and dark shades of green in your tree layers. Colour the lights and star yellow. The other decorations can be red. Colour the snowy parts white to make the tree look real.
  13. You can add stars at the pointy end parts and on top of the tree to finish it off!

For more such cool How To Draw videos go to our Drawing page.

Christmas Story Song For Kids

In Bethlehem, on a winter night

Were shepherds with their sheep so white
When suddenly came down the rays
of an angel singing praise

Chorus:
“Guess who’s born, ‘Jesus Christ’
Lose your troubles, give a high five
Have no fear, Go and see
The Son of God, the little baby”

Now, 3 wise men saw a star,
Glowing brightly from so far
On their camels travelling
They carried gifts for a king

Chorus:
Singing “Guess who’s born, ‘Jesus Christ’
He is God’s beloved child
He’ll bring peace to one and all,
Let’s go meet the baby small”

They found him in a stable cold
Just like the angel had told
With his loving Ma and Pa
Underneath the shining star

Chorus:
Singing “Jesus Christ, the prince is here
Joy and happiness is near
Sing and dance, have some fun
Merry Christmas every one!” X2

To read and download more Merry Christmas related articles, free wallpapers, greeting cards and coloring pages please visit this page.

Inside a Guitar

Hmmm… Seems I am in a zigzag maze…

Here is a roundabout just like the ones found on a road.

Tadaangg!! Oh! My poor ears… I just shook with the heavy vibration and loud noise. What was this? The sound looked as if it came from this round hole.

I can feel air coming through the top and it seems to be passing through this maze and Taddaaanngg… another deafening sound!

There is a path just below this roundabout. Let me just follow it… It is shaped like a cross, just like the alphabet X. The air seems to be moving around here when someone is applying pressure from the outside.

This seems like a musical instrument. I will just peep through this round hole and voila- there are strings attached to the board. I am inside a guitar!

Guitar

If you are starting to play a musical instrument, a guitar is the best one to learn. Though it takes a great deal of skill and learning to play the guitar properly; it is a lot easier than other instruments.

Parts of Guitar

A guitar has a big, curvy body and inside the nice, wooden structure these are its basic parts:

  1. Neck block – This is where the neck of the guitar fits into.
  2. Lining – This attaches the body of the guitar to the sides. It widens the gluing area for attaching the soundboard
  3. Soundboard – This is the main vibrating plate of an acoustic guitar and most of the guitar sound comes from here.
  4. A round sound hole – The place from where guitar sound emerges. The larger the sound hole the more is the treble or tone
  5. Tail block – It is the bottom block and it strengthens the bottom of the guitar, mainly used for support.

Inside the Guitar

  • The inside of the guitar has a series of braces to produce sound through vibrations. The strings are fixed at both ends and vibrate when touched, producing standing waves. Strings create pressure waves. This sends the air waves to the sound hole and the guitar plays.
  • X-Brace- This lies just below the sound hole forming an X pattern. The degree of the X shape forms the balance between the guitar treble and bass. A wider pr spread out X will increase the bass. A 12 string guitar has double X bracing.

Pochemuchka

What does “Pochemuchka” mean?

Do you know someone who always has a question to ask? Someone who is always curious about something or the other, no matter what the topic at hand is. If you do, then you know someone who is referred to in Russian as a Pochemuchka (pronounced poh-cheh-moch-kah) – a person who asks too many questions. Curiosity is often a sign of intelligence. But remember, if you ask too many questions, you’ll only find more questions, no answers!

Do insects sneeze?

It will become difficult for an insect to sneeze or cough as insects do not have noses.

How do insects breathe?

They breathe through tiny holes in their body called spiracles. These holes or spiracles are connected to tubes or tracheae that again branch out into smaller tubes. These are connected to all tissues in the insect body. Oxygen enters the spiracles and flows down through the tracheae and ends up in a liquid that is located at the bottom of each tube. This liquid helps the oxygen to dissolve. The liquid moves into other cells of an insect’s body to provide oxygen to other parts.

Do insects have lungs?

Insects can take in air or oxygen through their mouth as well but it doesn’t do much because insects do not have lungs. But some insects breathe in air through their mouths to increase their body volume. Some insects like the june beetle, luber grasshopper or the Madagascar hissing cockroach make hissing noise for communication by forcing air out of their spiracles.

Do insects cough?

There are insects that may cough up or regurgitate. This means they might spit out materials from their gut but it is mainly to distract predators or a defensive action.

What is Fibonacci Series?

If you’ve read the book “The Da Vinci Code” then you already know about the Fibonacci sequence. This intriguing sequence of numbers is an integral part of what is known as “the golden ratio” which is said to be the ratio in which many natural phenomena occur. Be it a tree branching out or a cluster of stars, the golden ratio can be observed in most naturally occurring phenomena. So let’s find out some more about this mysterious series of numbers.

What is the Fibonacci Sequence?

The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers starting from 0 where every number is the sum of the two numbers preceding it. Thus, the sequence goes 0,1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and so on. The mathematical equation that represents this sequence is  xn = xn-1 + xn-2.

Who invented Fibonacci Sequence?

The sequence is named after Fibonacci, an Italian mathematician who was also known as Leonardo of Pisa, or Leonardo Pisano. He was a man who traveled widely and traded extensively. As knowledge of mathematics was important to traders, his interest was cultivated in his youth. The Fibonacci numbers were first introduced to the Western World through his book Liber Abaci in 1202. However, the discovery of this sequence precedes Fibonacci; it was discovered and described as “Virahanka” in Indian mathematic scriptures.

Fibonacci and the Rabbits Problem

Fibonacci first noticed this sequence when he pondered the question of rabbit breeding. The question he pondered was: Beginning with a male and female rabbit, how many pairs of rabbits could be born in a year? After making certain assumptions he deduced a certain pattern to the breeding of rabbits. The pattern followed the Fibonacci sequence. If you’re curious, the answer he came to was 233 pairs of rabbits at the end of a year.

Why is Fibonacci called as Nature’s Code?

The Fibonacci sequence has a greater significance than simply answering hypothetical rabbit breeding questions. This mysterious sequence appears all around us in nature. The petals of a flower, the seeds of fruits, rows of seeds on a sun flower or the lobes of pinecones and even the spirals on a shell develop or add up to the Fibonacci numbers.

The Golden Ratio: Phi

Why, you ask? Simply because nature always follows the most efficient way of doing things. And that’s why the Fibonacci numbers are also called nature’s code. Another interesting thing of note is that when you divide any Fibonacci number (say 8), with its preceding number (say 5), the result is very close to 1.618, which is also called “Phi”. Go ahead, pick some more numbers off the sequence and try it! Considering all the beautiful wonders of nature created in this ratio, it was deemed the Golden Ratio. “Phi” is also believed to have been used in ancient Greece to denote the ratio of physical perfection.

The beauty of nature is guided by Mathematics. Doesn’t that make math just a little bit more interesting, if not a whole lot?

A Bolt of lightning is 5 times hotter than the sun!

What is sun?

The Sun is just like any other star which gets its energy by nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium. The surface of the sun is actually its coolest layer while the core is the hottest.

What is lightning?

Lightning is an atmospheric electric discharge caused by thunderstorms or dust storms. Lightning causes strong electric field which ionizes the air around and separates the air molecules into positive ions and electrons. When this ionised air comes into contact with the ground from the cloud, high temperature current flows in the form of lightening stroke. This lightning stroke establishes a temperature that is hotter than the sun.
The temperature is nothing but the energy that comes from the number of particles which are millions in number. This energy lasts only for a short time like a microsecond, but the rate at which it scatters can be very large.

How hot is lightning bolt?

A bolt of lightning can reach a temperature of 53,540 degree Fahrenheit as compared to just 10,340 degree Fahrenheit of the sun!

What is Hydroelectricity?

Electricity is the life blood of the modern world. Most of us cannot imagine life without electricity and the various appliances and services powered by it. Now, there are multiple ways in which electricity is generated, but the most popular and widely used method all over the world is generation of electricity using water, called hydroelectricity. Also known as hydropower, it refers to the conversion of energy from flowing water into electricity.

How does Hydroelectricity work?

It’s a fairly simple process to explain. To generate hydroelectricity, flowing water is used to turn huge turbines. When the turbines spin, they generate mechanical energy. This mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy using generators.

Types of Hydroelectric Power Plants

1. Dam based :

In this method, dams are built to harness the power of water. The hydroelectric power plant is built as a part of the dam. Water in the dam is released and directed towards the turbines, which cause them to spin, thereby generating electricity. Water may even be stored at the base of the dam in a reservoir. This water can be pumped up into the dam, to meet high demands in electricity.

2. Run of River based :

The electricity generating method remains the same. The only difference in this method is that instead of building the plant as a part of a dam, the hydroelectric power plant is built close to a river. A small portion of the river is redirected to spin the turbines in the plant, and generate electricity.
Both these methods are excellent, but not without their own pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of Hydroelectric Power Generation –

  • The dam method is excellent because it gives us greater control over the generation process. Water can be stored and released as needed, which means demands for electricity can be met more efficiently. On the other hand, building a dam is expensive. Not to mention that building a dam changes the surrounding environment and ecology as well. Also, the consequences of breakage or damage to the dams are serious! A dam breakage can cause large scale damage to its surrounding flora and fauna. These are all important factors to consider when building a dam based hydroelectric plant.
  • The run of the river method is more benign as far as natural consequences are considered. On the down side though, this method relies on the natural availability of water, which could mean fluctuations in electricity supply and reduced control over the production of electricity.

All things considered, hydroelectricity is still the most widely used method of generating electricity all over the world, and for good reason! Hydroelectricity is a clean source of energy, as it does not involve pollution and emissions in the process of generating electricity. It is also considered a renewable source of energy, because the key ingredient, i.e. water is renewed in the water cycle.

Cafune

What does “Cafune” mean?

There’s a special kind of comfort in running your fingers through a loved one’s hair. The Portuguese have a word for it. It’s Cafune (pronounced kah-foo-ney), and it refers to the act of caressing a loved one’s hair. Do you remember the last instance of Cafune in your life?

Delhi Air Pollution Facts and Stats

Delhi – The most polluted city in the World!

The capital of the Republic of India has been in the news lately, and not for a good reason either. India is a populated country, the second most populated in the world, in fact. Thus, Delhi being the capital is overcrowded, with both people as well as industries. While on one hand the industrial growth is good for the economy, the same cannot be said for the environment. In recent times, it has come to light that the air pollution in Delhi is dangerously high – it is in fact the most polluted city in the world!

10 Interesting Facts about the Air Pollution in Delhi

1. The air pollution in Delhi is primarily caused due to industrial waste and vehicles. Around 80,000 trucks ply the roads of Delhi, most of them old trucks burning diesel and kerosene. These, added to the power plants that are located within city limits are the major causes of air pollution in Delhi.
2. The dreamy looking fog around Delhi is actually a blend of toxic gases with a high concentration of nanoparticles, which are responsible for respiratory health problems. And it only gets worse. Apart from the visible smog, there are several other toxic gases in the air that are completely invisible to us!
3. Spring brings on clearer looking air, but is actually the time when sunlight reacts with nitrogen dioxide and VOCs to create ground level ozone, exposure to which is equivalent to rubbing sand paper on the insides of our lungs.
4. A busy road on Delhi can now be equated to Hitler’s gas chambers. So high are the levels of VOCs, Sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and ground level ozone when one is on the roads of Delhi! And being in a closed vehicle isn’t any significant measure of safety either.
5. As days go by, the pollution seems normal to us. The human body’s tendency to numb out irritating smells causes our ability to perceive pollution to diminish day by day.
6. So bad is the air in Delhi that living in Delhi is said to be equal to smoking twenty plus cigarettes every single day.
7. The pollutants in Delhi are evolving such that the human body can no longer filter out these harmful, carcinogenic pollutants. Called smart pollutants, pollutants like the PM 10 or PM 2.5 , contain particles that are less than 10 and 2.5 microns in size respectively. A human hair strand has a width of around 70 microns. Which means that these pollutants are too small for our bodies to filter out, granting them easy access to our lungs, causing severe respiratory problems.
Records show that the concentration of PM 10 and PM 2.5 in Delhi are at 283 and 517 micrograms per cubic metre, which is way beyond the acceptable standards of 60 and 100 respectively.
8. At this point, merely planting more trees is going to be virtually ineffective against the pollution problems of Delhi. The pollution in Delhi is too thick to be dissolved by just planting trees and going our merry ways.
9. Pollution in Delhi claims the lives of more than 10000 people every year. And these numbers are only getting higher. Winter is especially bad in Delhi, and shows an increase in pollution induced morbidity.
10. Post Diwali 2016, the pollution in Delhi has reached alarming levels, and people are being advised not to step outside due to the severity of the pollution levels. Elders and children suffer all the more in such a situation.

So what can be done?
There’s only one answer – constant monitoring of human activities. Active measures such as the ones mentioned below must be taken, and taken seriously, if there’s ever any hope of salvation for Delhi –

4 Ways to deal with Delhi’s Air Pollution

1. Use of carpooling and public transport. The lesser the vehicles on the road, lesser the pollution.
2. Stopping the consumption of disposable items. Plastic bottles and bags, which cannot be safely recycled only add to the pollution problems, and hence they should be actively avoided.
3. Go green. Combined with other measures to reduce pollution, planting more trees will certainly help alleviate Delhi’s pollution problems.
4. No more willful polluting, by bursting crackers or burning stuff. At this point, bursting crackers amounts to willfully creating respiratory problems for the city of Delhi by introducing more noxious gases into the air.

The world consumes close to 2.25 billion cups of coffee every day!

It has been raining coffee between 9.30 to 11.30 am everyday!

Is coffee really the second largest commodity?

Coffee is the world’s second most valuable commodity to be traded; the first being Petroleum.
Most of the coffee around the world is consumed during breakfast hours between 9.30 and 11.30 am.

Who introduced instant coffee?

It was around 1910 that George Louis Washington introduced instant coffee. It was named Washington’s instant coffee. Since then there has been no looking back for coffee and it has reached a fan following across the globe.

Coffee and caffeine

Coffee contains caffeine which immediately gives you energy and improves blood flow. But too much coffee also can be harmful for the system. That is why when people want to avoid sleeping they drink coffee so that they can stay awake longer.

Coffee chains in the world

The smell of coffee is the second most recognizable smell in America! Starbucks is the largest coffee chain worldwide, while we do have Cafe Coffee day, Coffee bean and Costa Coffee in most parts as well.

Why do Feet Fall Asleep?

What makes our feet fall asleep?

When pressure is applied on a certain body part for a long time, it squeezes the nerve pathways and they cannot transmit the sensations to the brain properly. They also are not able to carry instructions from the brain to the particular body part. Basically the nerve path is blocked or squeezed and the body part doesn’t know what to do, so it goes off to a sleep mode.

What happens when our foot falls asleep?

So, when you are sitting or applying pressure on your arms or legs for a long time, you might feel that body part is missing. When you change your position, the nerves begin to return to their normal position; they begin unsqueezing and start communicating again. This is when you feel the tingling up and down of pins and needles. This sensation is also called paraesthesia and doesn’t last very long or hurt your body parts but sometimes takes longer for the nerves to recover and get back to normal.

How to get rid of an asleep foot?

You can shake your foot gently, or massage your feet, soak your feet in warm water and try to walk only when the tingling sensation has reduced.

Split Apple Rock

How did Split Apple Rock came into existence?

Long ago, the gods were fighting over a delicious golden apple. In the fight that ensued, the apple slipped from the heaven and fell on to the ground and split, turning into a stone. And that, my friends is how the split apple rock formation came to be. Well that was a complete lie, told to me by my very humorous tour guide, as I came to see the famous Split Apple Rock formation here at Abel Tasman in South Island, New Zealand. He also mentioned the Maori legend, which states that two gods were fighting over a large boulder. To prove their strength, they each grabbed hold of one end of the rock, and the tugging resulted in the split. Such interesting stories!

How was Split Apple Rock formed?

The real, less mysterious, and more scientific origin story is that long ago, water seeped in through the cracks of a huge boulder. When the water froze, it expanded, causing the rock to split into two. The split apple shape of the rock is chalked up to coincidence. Well, I still prefer the God’s apple version of the story, and the many other interesting, and often mythological origin stories for this interesting boulder. It is estimated to be around 120 million years old after all!

Amazing Facts about Split Apple Rock

Made out of granite, the rock is a naturally occurring geological formation that sits in the water around 50m from the coast of the Tasman Sea. Visible from the shores, in times of low tide, it is accessible by wading. Or you could kayak up to it. It is quite a popular tourist attraction, as also a point of interest for visitors of the Abel Tasman National Park. Quite a few resorts and retreats have cropped up in the area and the rock is always a point of interest for the guests there as well. The Tasman Bay is a nice area to go kayaking, take long walks, or even go hiking / water sporting and other outdoor activities.

Lycanthropy

What does “Lycanthropy” mean?

Lycanthropy menace the assumption of the form and characteristics of a wolf held to be possible by witchcraft or magic. The word lycanthropy itself, however, comes from the Greek words lykos, meaning “wolf,” and anthropos, meaning “human being.” Werewolf myths are usually associated with the phases of the moon; the animal nature of the werewolf (or “lycanthrope”) is typically thought to take over when the moon is full.

Ostrich: The Super Kicker!

How hard can Ostriches kick?

An Ostrich can kick with a force of about 2,000 pounds per square inch that is 141 kg per square cm.

How fast can an Ostrich run?

This 300 pound bird not only is bulky and heavily built, but also has the ability to run at a speed of 60 miles per hour!

More Fun Ostrich Facts

The Ostrich is not only the world’s largest flightless bird. They have thin legs to keep their large body upright but the long legs of an Ostrich can be a formidable weapon and with a forward kick it is capable of killing potential predators, even a lion!

The feet of an Ostrich are only four inches long. But they possess two finger claws or two toes on each foot. So they bend their knees to prepare for a kick and with the help of their claws the Ostrich deliver a powerful kick. They kick forward because that is the direction their legs can bend.

A professional boxer can only hit 800 pounds per square inch. Thus an Ostrich can kick any human and kill them in a single kick!

Scientists suggest that the ostrich is related to the giant Tyrannosaurus rex, the dinosaur that created havoc in all Jurassic Park movies!

Self Driving Cars : Facts

The future is here thanks to science. We’re talking self-driving cars – cars that don’t need human input to make their way around. Imagine a world where you don’t need someone to drive you around. A world where accidents due to human errors in judgment are a thing of the past. Doesn’t that incredible? Let’s see how science makes this possible.

What is an Autonomous Car?

Self-driven cars, also called autonomous cars, driverless cars, AI cars or robotic cars, are cars that do not require human input to navigate while driving. They use an array of software and technologies to achieve this, including GPS, radar, lidar, odometry and computer vision. The cars are equipped with sensors that allow them to detect obstacles along the way, be it a pedestrian, another vehicle, whether parked or in transit or even a bird. And of course, they have a robust GPS system to navigate the right path to its chosen destination.

How long before we have Driverless Cars?

It may be hard to believe, but the concept of driverless cars was introduced to the world way back in 1939 at the Futurama exhibit by General Motors at the World Fair. Not surprisingly, Japan soon came up with an autonomous car that used cameras and analogue computing to process signals around 1977. Post that, the development of autonomous cars gained a footing in Europe in 1980s, with the Navlab and ALV by Carnegie Mellon University in 1984 and the EUREKA Prometheus Project by Mercedes-Benz and Bundeswehr University Munich in 1987. Since then, many major companies have entered the fray with model after model of driverless cars. With the advent of the Tesla Motor’s and Google’s autonomous cars however, the spotlight shining on this technology is brighter than ever.

6 Levels of Autonomy

There are 6 levels of autonomy to a driverless car from no autonomy to fully autonomous – 

  1. Level 0: Where the Automation System (AS) has no vehicle control, but may issue warnings.
  2. Level 1:Driver must be ready to take control at anytime. AS may include features such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Parking Assistance with automated steering, and Lane Keeping Assistance (LKA) Type II in any combination.
  3. Level 2: The driver is obliged to detect objects and events and respond if the AS fails to respond properly. The AS executes accelerating, braking, and steering and can deactivate immediately upon takeover by the driver.
  4. Level 3: Within known, limited environments (such as freeways), the driver can safely turn their attention away from driving tasks.
  5. Level 4: The AS can control the vehicle in all but a few environments such as severe weather. The driver must enable the AS only when it is safe to do so. When enabled, driver attention is not required.
  6. Level 5: Other than setting the destination and starting the system, no human intervention is required. The AS can drive to any location where it is legal to drive

Tesla motors first rolled out the Tesla Autopilot in 2015 with a software update. Naturally, everybody was excited about the autopilot feature. The autopilot feature ranked at a level 2 or 3. The car saw its first fatal accident in May 2016, and Tesla Motors has since doubled its already considerable efforts to remind drivers that even with the Autopilot feature, drivers still have to remain alert and ready to take control of the vehicle.

Google’s Driverless Cars

Google has also rolled out prototypes of “Google cars” the smiley faced cute cars that are 100% autonomous, i.e. level 5. This means they don’t have steering wheels, or gas / brake pedals. Google cars are undergoing rigorous tests to ensure their safety before they’re released to the general public. They’ve also had some minor accidents and Google is working diligently to learn from these accidents and improve the user experience.

Going by the various declarations by the top motor companies, we could all hope to be “driving around” our own driverless cars by 2021 – just as soon as they figure out a way to get around the existing technical and legal obstacles. So, are you looking forward to giving up vehicle control to simply relax and enjoy the drive?

Valley of the Kings

Wādī al Mulūk

I’m in Egypt today, traversing through what’s known as Wādī al Mulūk, or, the Valley of Kings.

Where was the Valley of the Kings built?

Much like the old kingdom Pharaohs built their tombs in the Pyramids of Giza and the Nile Delta. The Valley of Kings near Luxor on the west bank of Niles also became the burial place for many well-known Pharaohs such as Tutankhanum, Seti I and Ramases of the II New Kingdom of Egypt. Several high ranking queens, priests and elites of the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties, were also buried here. According to my tour guide, these Pharaohs may have chosen this place to be put to rest closer to their dynastic roots in the south.

History of the Valley of the Kings

Egyptians were big-believers of the afterlife and their tombs reflected this belief. Like the tombs in the pyramids, the tombs in the Valley of Kings also show elaborate preparations for the kings’ journey into the after-life. They believed their Pharaohs would become one with Gods in the after-life, so their tombs were well stocked for this very purpose. From riches and treasures like the gold masks and precious jewelry to mundane everyday items like clothes, underwear and even furniture, Egyptian tombs had all the material necessities a ruler might need in the after-life. In fact, they even found food, drinks, and favored companions and pets buried alongside. Curiously, books were nowhere to be found, at least in the tomb of Tutankhanum. I wonder if they believed that one didn’t need books to gain knowledge in the after-life.

For centuries the valley has been combed for tombs, and it still yields surprises. Experts believe that there are many more tombs to be found. Although, they do think that the tombs may already have been raided for loot. Egyptian writings show records of most of the royal tombs having been raided and the offenders severely punished, even though the entrances to the tombs are very well-hidden. The tomb of Tutankhanum discovered by archaeologist Howard Carter was relatively untouched by raiders, which was quite a surprise. Not long after, another unnamed tomb was discovered quite close to Tutankhanum’s tomb. This only increased the experts’ interest in this mystical tomb valley.

All through my trip here, we weren’t allowed to click pictures while inside, and even our tour guide only gave us a quick run-down of the facts while inside. This, he said, was in an effort to reduce damage caused to the tombs because of overcrowding by visitors. Quite understandable. The place has a mysterious ancient vibe to it that deserves to be preserved and experienced in its peaceful glory.

Why do Bats hang upside down?

Halloween is around the corner! Can you guess which nocturnal creature makes its appearance on Halloween costumes and decorations?

They fly like birds, can see very little in the dark and they hang upside down from tree branches or caves?

Yes, they are the nocturnal creatures called Bats.

Ever wondered why these flying mammals hang upside down? What if you try to hang upside down from a monkey bar? Won’t you feel dizzy when you stand up later?

Hanging upside down is an excellent way for the bats to avoid predators. It provides them with an optimal position to take flight if they are attacked.

Why don’t Bats fly like normal birds?

Bats are mammals that have one of the heaviest wings. They cannot take flight when standing in an upright position. As their wings are heavy, they do not give bats the sufficient lift when they are standing like birds.

Another reason for these poor little creatures is that they have underdeveloped hind legs. Like an aeroplane which runs before taking a flight, unfortunately bats cannot do so. Bats would fall off if they try to run and then take a flight.

Thus, bats are happy to hang upside down from attics, caves, bridges and other such places.

How do Bats fly?

Bats use their claws to climb to a high spot and then hang upside down. When they have to fly they let go, drop down and in the middle of their drop they take a flight. When bats are sleeping they hang upside down as it means they can easily take a flight if attacked by predators. Hanging upside down is also a great way for bats to hide from predators.

Why do we carve Pumpkins on Halloween?

It is said that all evil spirits and ghosts are allowed to come out of hiding during Halloween! Erie?

Significance of the pumpkin in Halloween festivities

Halloween is a tradition and a holiday celebrated in Western countries, where children dress up in costumes and go from house to house asking for trick or treats. The most important Halloween tradition is to carve pumpkins. You might have noticed during Halloween people carve huge pumpkins and light them outside their homes.

This tradition of carving and lighting pumpkins occurs all over the United States. It started in Ireland and is known as the Jack-o’-lantern tradition.

Story of the Jack O’ Lantern?

According to an old traditional Irish legend, there was once a drunk and miserly person named Jack. He was known as, ‘Stingy Jack’. He was very shrewd. So one fine day Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him in a bar. The Devil did, and when it was time to pay the bill Jack asked the Devil to turn himself into a coin. The Devil fell for this trap and changed into a coin but instead of paying the bill, Jack put the devil in his pocket with a silver cross so that the devil wouldn’t change to his original form. Later Jack freed the Devil but only on the condition that the Devil would not take Jack’s soul when he died.

As with every mortal being Stingy Jack also died one day, but he was rejected by God since he was not a sincere person and was not allowed in heaven. He went to hell and since the Devil had promised not to take his soul, Jack was denied entry.

However, the Devil gave Jack a piece of charcoal and told him to make his own hell and light it. Jack put the charcoal in a carved-out turnip and it is believed that he roams the earth as a restless soul along with his lantern ever since. Thus was born Jack-o’-lantern.

People first started carving turnips and potatoes to ward off evil. Later pumpkins took over this tradition as they seemed to be the right fruit – big, ripened at the correct time and native to America.

So people carve pumpkins with scary, ghost like faces. This, the Irish believe stops evil spirits like Stingy Jack from entering their homes during Halloween.

Panapoo

What does “Panapoo” mean?

Most of us have this unconscious habit of scratching our heads or chins when we’re thinking, especially if we’re trying to remember something we’ve forgotten. There’s a Hawaiian word for this act. Pronounced [pah-nah-poh-oh], the word Panapoo describes this very act of scratching one’s head as one tries to remember something that is forgotten. Do you have this habit?

The origin of the word “OK”

OK… So it all started with a joke!

Using abbreviations was a rage during the 1800’s and more so in the printing press. The Editor of Boston Morning Post published a humourous article about a satirical organization called the ‘Anti-Bell ringing Society’. The article was in good humour about the correct use of grammar.

What does “OK” stand for?

It used ‘OK’ as an abbreviation for ‘Oll Korrect’!

While the other abbreviations faded in due time, OK stayed for years and is used even today! So, how did Ok get so famous?

Story and History of the word “OK”

During the 1840 elections the abbreviation OK got merged with Martin van Burren’s nickname, Old Kinderhook. Some fans got together and opened a club and had posters and banners saying ‘Vote for OK’. This slogan was used widely and Van Burren also popularised the term. Swiftly and steadily the term reached outside and had an international fan following.

So OK still stands hand in hand with other slangs like OMG or LOL!

Hagfish Fun Facts

Living in the deep dark sea and swimming around without being able to see. That’s just one of the things that makes hagfish interesting. Hagfish are interesting creatures that are also called slime eels because of their appearance but they are actually jawless fish.

Where does the Hagfish Live?

There are around 76 species of hagfish living in cold waters around the world. The largest of them can grow up to four feet whereas the smallest of them is hardly a few inches long. They prefer living near the soft ocean floor where they can bury themselves if threatened.

10 Interesting Facts about the Hagfish – Seemingly Repulsive Species

  1. Sock skin: Hagfish do not have scales. They have loose fitting sock like skin that ranges from pinkish to blue-gray in color.
  2. Hearts and hearts: Hagfish have 4 hearts! That’s right. The slimy fish has one heart which serves as the main pump and three other accessory pumps.
  3. Skin breathers: Hagfish can breathe through a well-developed network of capillaries in their skin. They also have anywhere between 5 to 15 gills depending on the species, which help them breathe.
  4. No sight: Hagfish do not have compound eyes, but instead have eye spots that detect light. In some hagfish, even these spots are covered by skin. This doesn’t mean they can’t find their way around the ocean however. Hagfish have a very well-developed sense of hearing and smell which lets them navigate and find food quite easily. They also have several barbels and sensing tentacles around their mouth.
  5. Jawless but not toothless: Well, they’re not exactly teeth, but hagfish have two rows of tooth-like keratin structures that they use to bite off food and burrow into the ground.
  6. Tail torque: Hagfish tie their tails into knots when eating live prey to generate torque and increase the force of their attacks. Resourceful, eh?
  7. No evolution: The only hagfish fossil is around 330 million years old, but it is hardly different from the hagfish today. Which indicates that whatever evolution happened then is working pretty well for them.
  8. They can go months without eating: Hagfish have slow enough metabolisms to be able to survive months between feedings.
  9. Slime masters: Hagfish are notoriously called slimy eels because of this disgusting instinct of theirs. They produce quite an amount of slime and chuck it at their predators to escape. The can produce litres of slime in a matter of minutes! They have slime glands along their body that help them do this. To clean themselves off they knot themselves and scrape it off. To clear a slimy nostril, they sneeze.
  10. Futuristic fibre: Hagfish slime contains tens of thousands of pretty strong protein threads that scientists believe can be woven into fabric. Just like spider-silk, hagfish-slime-fibre would be super strong and could have a number of potential uses.

Although they are pretty slimy and can seem quite disgusting, hagfish actually play an important role in maintaining the health of the ocean. Sadly, quite a few of hagfish species are nearing endangerment and need conscious efforts from our side for their protection.

Socotra Island, Yemen

Where is Socotra located?

Off the coast of Yemen in the Indian Ocean lies a small island, or rather an archipelago that is unlike any other place on earth. These 4 islands in the Arabian Sea make up the Socotra Island, also known as the Pirate islands.

Random Facts about Socotra Island

The Socotra islands are isolated islands, rich in both history and beauty. The island consists of the main island of Socotra, and 3 smaller islands of Abd al Kuri, Samhah and Darsa. Apart from these, there are also small rock outcrops like Ka’l Fir’awn and Sābūnīyah that are uninhabitable by humans but important for seabirds. These islands are beautiful with their coastal plains and limestone plateaus. Combined with these and the lovely Haghier mountains, the island is a visual treat. Even the plant life here is highly unique. Of the species of plants found on the island, more than a third are found nowhere else on earth, my guide says. Indeed, some of these plants are unearthly! Makes one feels like they’re on another planet! It is rightly referred to as “the most alien looking place on earth!”

The Dragon’s Blood Tree

My local guide here tells me the legend of the dragon’s blood tree, which looks like a giant mushroom. The tree has a red sap, which in ancient times was thought to be dragon’s blood, and was highly valuable. Used as a dye back then, it serves as a key ingredient for paint and varnish today. The people here believed in magic, and practiced many magical rituals back in the day, even though a majority of the population was Christian, and their magical practices were forbidden by the archbishop.

Who does Socotra Island belongs to?

The majority of people here are of Indian and Somali origin as also African American people. The friendly people here earn their livelihood through animal husbandry, fishing, and date cultivation. The island is as of now still untouched by throngs of tourists, which makes the experience even better! You can enjoy its beauty and the amazing hospitality of the islanders peacefully. The eco tours ensure that you have a great time without causing any damage to the beautiful island. I can’t wait to come back here for another visit!

Music and Heartbeats

Dap dap….Dap dap!

“Music make me happy, really happy”– Mr. HeartBeat

Doctors and researchers have found that music is the savior of many souls. Music distresses a person and calms them down. It is proven that sounds of different pitches can change the moods of people and also lower blood pressure according to the type of music they are listening to. Also the heartbeat adjusts to the tempo of the music you listen to.

Importance of Music in Life

  • Music is important part of anyone life.
  • They always relate to good or bad times with some song playing in the background.
  • It is also connected to physiological responses within the body especially the heart.
  • Studies at Massachusetts and Hong Kong have soon that people who listen to music for 20 to 30 minutes a day have lowered blood pressure and heartbeat compared to the ones that don’t.
  • This relationship between the heart and music is beneficial on many levels especially when it comes to people with heart problems and chronic pain.

London Bridge

London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. Well, no. It isn’t which is good because I’m there right now!

History of London Bridge

Spanning the river Thames and connecting the traditional city of London to its creative and more relaxed bankside, the London Bridge is the bridge with the longest history in London. The first timber bridges that spanned the river Thames were built way, way back by the Roman founders of London. Then in 1176, Henry II commissioned a stone arched bridge that lasted for over 600 years! Over the centuries it underwent several upgrades and refurbishments. The bridge that stands today replaced the stone arched bridge. It was designed and built due to the combined efforts of the architect Lord Holford and engineers Mott, Hay and Anderson. It was inaugurated by the Queen Elizabeth II in 1973 and was opened to traffic in the year 1974.

Nursery Rhyme: London Bridge is Falling Down

The London Bridge is one of the oldest known bridges across the Thames, and is so popular worldwide that it has a nursery rhyme dedicated to it. In medieval times, the bridge often displayed the heads of traitors to the throne on spikes above its stone gatehouse. It was a way for the monarchy to keep its subjects in check.

4 Interesting Facts about London Bridge

  1. Today, however, it is a place that not only offers a spectacular view of the city but has several interesting attractions to boot.
  2. The London Bridge is always bustling with activity thanks to the many restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions in the areas around it.
  3. It’s a place well known for its food and drinks as well as the excellent medical services of the London Bridge Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
  4. It is also the most well connected places in the city with excellent public transport links.

If you’re the daring type (like I am), you must give the London Bridge experience a shot. I won’t give away the details, but it’s a terrifyingly fascinating experience, to say the least. The Borough market area across the London Bridge Station is UK’s oldest food market and boasts of over 70 stalls selling everything from fresh produce to lip-smacking delicacies.

It goes without saying of course, that if you’re here, you cannot miss taking a walk across the river!

Ramayana – The Story of Diwali

The Story of Ramayana

Diwali is a festival of joy and prosperity, and a celebration of the victory of good over evil. This is the story of Ram and Ravan. A story related to this festival.

Thousands of years ago, in the city of Ayodhya, there was a wise and good king named Dasaratha who ruled along with his three queens and four princes.

The eldest, Ram and his beautiful wife, Sita, lived happily along with his other prince brothers and their wives. But one of King Dasaratha’s wives was jealous of Ram and demanded that he be exiled to the forest for 14 years so that her son, Bharat, be made king.

Having once promised his wife to fulfil any wish of hers, the helpless king exiled Ram to the forest. And so, Ram set off on foot accompanied by his loving wife Sita, and loyal younger brother, Lakshman.

A few years into their exile, a demoness named Surpanakha saw Ram and fell for his looks. She asked Ram to marry her. Ram refused and asked her to go to Lakshman instead.

But Lakshman also refused. Enraged, Surpanakha showed her true form and Lakshman cut off her nose and ears.

The demoness went wailing to her brother who was none other than Ravan, the demon King of Lanka. Ravan was furious and swore revenge.

With the help of another demon who took the form of a golden deer, he distracted Ram and Lakshman and kidnapped Sita from their hut.

When Ram and Lakshman returned, Sita was missing! They realised that something bad had happened while they were gone and immediately rushed to find her.

On their way, they came across an army of monkeys and bears that agreed to help them. Among them was a monkey named Hanuman who had once vowed to be at Ram’s service.

Now Hanuman was no ordinary monkey. He could fly over mountains, change size at will and had super-human strength. He had the power to leap across oceans in a single stride. So obviously, he ended up being Ram’s strongest ally.

It was Hanuman who finally found Sita, imprisoned in one of Ravan’s beautiful gardens. Hanuman reassured Sita that Ram would be here soon to rescue her.

He came back to Ram with Sita’s whereabouts and the army of monkeys, bears and men marched to Lanka.

Soon, a great battle started between to two mighty armies and Ram’s soldiers managed to kill all the demons, except one – Ravan.

The battle was now between Ram and Ravan. He gave Ravan one last chance to apologise and return Sita. Ravan instead rained down weapons on him. Ram too fought back relentlessly but despite all his efforts, nothing seemed to kill Ravan. Finally, Ravan’s brother Vibheeshan told Ram that Ravan’s weakest point was in his navel. Using an arrow given to him by the gods, Ram shot Ravan in the navel and killed him instantly.

And so, Ram and his love,Sita, were finally reunited.

Soon after, upon completion of their 14 years in exile, Ram, Sita and Lakshman returned home to find the entire city waiting for them! The streets were decorated with flowers and lamps and there was happiness everywhere

And this is why every year on Diwali Festival Facts, you see the streets, homes and offices lit up with lamps, like the city of Ayodhya, in celebration of Ram and Sita’s homecoming.

Facts about the different celebrations of Diwali – https://mocomi.com/different-celebrations-of-diwali/

How do Elevators work?

With the push of a button, you summon a metal box that saves you from trudging up flights of stairs. In fact, for any building more than 4 floors high, an elevator is practically a must. Can you even imagine skyscrapers being around if not for elevators? And apart from the ease and convenience to most people, elevators also make life easier for those with physical handicaps. Elevators are an innovation we’re so used to, that few of us ever pause to wonder how this box works.

Elevator Pulley System

Have you ever tried drawing water out of a well? If so, you’ve used a pulley. The bucket is attached to a rope which passes through a wheel, making it easier to draw water out. The earliest elevators worked on the same principle. They were manually operated, and were powered by laborers / animals. Of course, the modern elevator uses much more elaborate and sophisticated mechanisms to better handle the weight of the elevator and its cargo but the principle is essentially the same.

Working Principle of Elevator

An elevator is basically a metal box attached to a very strong metal rope. This rope goes through a “sheave” in the engine room above the elevator. A “sheave” is the equivalent of a pulley wheel. It has grooves to hold the rope tightly. The entire system is motorized. When you push the call button (or the floor button), you activate the motor and the elevator goes up, down or stops. The key parts of an elevator are –

1. The metal car that we ride in

The car of the elevator is a metal box that is held in place by guide rails and supported by strong metal cables. There are two sets of doors in an elevator door, and most modern elevators are locked using an automated system. Unless they are forced open, the outer doors open only when an elevator car is on the floor. This is to prevent people from accidentally falling into the shaft from a moving elevator.

2. The counterweight

On the other end of the metal cable is a metal weight, about as heavy as the elevator would be when it is half full. This is to balance the weight of the elevator car, thereby minimizing energy needed to operate it.

3. The cables

As mentioned, the elevator car is supported by multiple cables of very strong metallic rope twisted together. They’re strong enough that even if one of them snaps, the elevator doesn’t fall to its doom. But what if all the cables break? Well, elevators aren’t just suspended in midair on metallic ropes. They’re also held in place by guide rails on the sides of the elevator. And there’s also a ratchet system for added safety. This safety system was invented by Elisha Graves Otis back in the 1860s. Each car ran between two vertical guide rails with sturdy metal teeth embedded all the way up them. At the top of each car, there was a spring-loaded mechanism with hooks attached. If the cable broke, the hooks sprung outward and jammed into the metal teeth in the guide rails, locking the car safely in position.

4. The electric motor and the braking system

At the push of the button, the motor is activated. When the motor turns one way, the sheave raises the elevator; when the motor turns the other way, the sheave lowers the elevator. The sheave, the motor and the control system are all housed in a machine room above the elevator shaft.

5. Safety systems

Apart from the above mentioned ratchet safety system, there are also speed governors (to control the speed of the elevator) and hydraulic or gas spring buffers to minimize impact damage in the event of a malfunction.
Fun Fact: In times of elevator crisis, the safest place to be is often right inside the elevator!

Zebra Stripes are nothing but Barcodes for Scientists!

Do all Zebras look alike to you?

They are all white with black stripes. But Scientists can identify individual zebras by “scanning” their stripes like a barcode.

The ‘Stripespotter’ is a scanning system developed to identify individual zebras from a single picture.

This system is so accurate; it can be used on other striped animals like tigers and giraffes.

Scientific Explanation for Zebra Stripes

The field ecologists take pictures of zebras with their regular cameras. These pictures are then loaded on the database of the Stripespotter. A portion of the picture is highlighted by the scientists, say the hind leg. This highlighted area is scanned by the Stripespotter and assigned a ‘stripecode’. Each animal has a unique stripecode.

When other pictures of the animals are loaded and other parts highlighted, the Stripespotter finds it in the database and gives a matching result. It also provides a feedback as to why the two images are of the same zebra.

Tenali Raman And The Greedy Brahmins

A Lesson to the Greedy Brahmins

There is another great story about the wisdom of Tenali Raman.

The King, Krishnadevaraya’s mother was a very pious and orthodox lady. She had visited all holy places and given much of her treasures in charity to temples. Once she showed the desire of giving away fruits in charity and her son, the king, obliged.

Krishnadevaraya immediately got many mangoes from Ratnagiri. He respected his mother a lot and never let her down. Unfortunately, before the auspicious day could arrive, his mother died.

Krishnadevaraya followed all religious rites. They went on for many days. On the last day, the King called some Brahmins and said, ‘my mother’s last wish was to offer mangoes to Brahmins. But she could not fulfil this wish and died. What can I do so that my mother’s last wish could be fulfilled and she can rest in peace?’

The Brahmins were greedy. They said that only if the King would give each Brahmin a gold mango, would his mother be able to rest in peace.
Krishnadevarya on hearing this immediately ordered some gold mangoes to be made and presented them to the Brahmins, thinking now his mother would be happy and peaceful.

Tenali Raman heard about this and he called those Brahmins to his home to perform the last rite ceremonies of his own mother.

When the Brahmins came to Tenali’s house Tenali closed all the doors and windows and stood in front of them with a red hot iron rod. The Brahmins were taken aback but Tenali removed their confusion.

‘My mother had knee pains and as a remedy she wanted me to cure her with these hot iron rods. But she died before I could help her. So now I want to fulfil her wish by giving you all this treatment’, Tenali said to the Brahmins.

The Brahmins were shocked and said that it is injustice on them and that they will not be a part of it.

But Tenali said that since they had taken the golden mangoes from the king because that way it could provide peace to his dead mother, this was the way Tenali’s mother could find peace.

The greedy Brahmins understood that they have not done right and they returned the mangoes to the King.

Later Tenali Raman told king Krishnadevarya that the treasure of the palace should not be exploited by giving them to such greedy people. Instead, it should be put to feed and serve the needy.

Moral: You should not be greedy and take more than you need.

Browse though our huge collection of short stories for kids.

How the Internet Works?

Whether we want to talk to our friends via email or instant messaging, shop, book movie tickets, or even read and research, the internet makes our lives much easier. It’s hard to imagine a world without the ease and convenience of the internet. It’s a wonderful technology that has extended to most areas of our lives. But how does this technology work? Have you ever wondered?

What is the Internet?

Simply put, the internet is a global collection of networks of computers connected to each other. These networks allow data to be transferred between the computers/devices connected to them. This exchange of data is possible only because all the computers on the network play by the same set of rules, called the Internet Protocol (IP).

How does this Global Network called the Internet Work?

Be it for a Google search for your favorite movie, or an email to a friend, what’s essentially happening when you use the internet is that you’re sending a message from your device to another device. Thus, when you use the internet, what you’re doing is sending and receiving messages (requests) to and from other computers and devices on the network.

Data Transmission on the Internet

The computers and devices that we use are called clients and the computers that websites such as Google or Facebook use are called servers. The websites we access are all files on the hard disks of the respective servers. Our devices do not directly access these files. When we access google.com for example, our client device forwards its requests to Google servers via our internet service providers (ISPs). The results also come to us via our ISPs. Which is why we cannot access the internet if our connection to our ISPs gets terminated.

Also, these messages and requests aren’t sent or received as a whole. Any time you use the internet, your message is broken down into units called “packets” that travel through the network to its destination. Upon arrival at the destination, the packets are put together in the original order. You can think of a packet as a chunk of your message / query. Or like a part of a jigsaw puzzle that needs to be solved at the destination. If for some reason the packets aren’t put together in the right order at the right time, the results are in the form of distorted content. Like when a video lags, or a web page doesn’t load properly.

But there are millions of people and devices accessing the internet at any given time. Which means countless packets of data. So how do these packets of data find their way to their intended destination? Every device connected to the internet has its own unique I.P address which acts as the postal address does in the physical world. And to make the data flow smoother and avoid data traffic jams, there are routers. Routers sort the packets based on their destination and ensure that they end up on the right device and not on other devices on the network.

So does anyone own the Internet?

Most of the data that is exchanged on the internet flows through internet exchange platforms. These platforms serve all kinds of organizations, including internet service providers, social media, universities, companies, publishers, telecom providers etc. By using an internet exchange platform, these organizations can achieve faster exchange of information at lower costs. So basically, the internet works because of mutual agreement of several organizations all over the world to share and exchange data using the same set of rules. So no one organization owns the internet.

The World is running out of Sand!

What is sand used for?

Sand seems infinite- covering beaches, rivers, deltas, all around the world. But sand is also used to make glass, electronics and most immensely used in construction. As cities grow larger, infrastructure moves higher, the demand for sand increases. Sand is in so much demand today that stealing sand has become an attractive business model.

Sand has been used by ancient and modern civilizations. Cities have been built, ruined, rebuilt-thinking that sand is abundant. But sand too is finite.

We are running out of Sand!

The world uses 40 billion tons of sand each year! The number is growing fast and the world is running out of sand. It is the river and beach sand that is running out. Desert sand is not of much use as it is lighter, cannot stick and gets eroded by wind. When the rivers and beaches are being emptied of their major source of sand, it can cause huge environmental damage.

A Sandy Affair!

Many people have been killed over the sand war. In India alone many government officials and policemen have been killed by sand mafias.

Mumbai Dabbawalas Supply Chain

The deliverers of home cooked meals to offices all over Mumbai (now common in other Indian cities as well), Dabbawalas make up one of the most efficient delivery systems in the city. A network of 5000+ professionals with one goal, to ensure timely delivery of tasty, homemade meals to their clients.

Origin of Mumbai Dabbawalas

Long back in 1890, a man named Maadeo Havaji Bachche started a lunch delivery service employing around 100 men. Over time, they formed an official association called the Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers’ Association, otherwise known as “The Dabbawalas”. The term “Dabbawala” or “Dabbawallah” can be translated to “tiffin box delivery man”. Dabba, means box, although when it comes to dabbawalas, it refers to the cylindrical aluminium containers they use to transport the lunchboxes.

The Dabbawala network consists of more than 5000 dabbawalas/workers, who collectively transport and deliver more than 350,000 dabbas or lunches in a day, and all of them, on time. Their work, while seemingly simple is quite challenging and involves commuting all over the dense urban landscape to deliver the lunches on time, all the while fielding train delays and traffic. Not to mention carting around heavy crates of lunch boxes and ensuring the contents do not spill. Their clients are usually middle-classed professionals who prefer home cooked meals to the restaurant fares. Which means they have to provide good service at affordable prices. This is no mean feat!

How do Mumbai’s Dabbawalas Work?

  1. As the work day begin (typically around 9), the Dabbawala reports for work at his appointed station.
  2. Next, the dabbawala picks up lunchboxes from the maker’s house. The makers keep the meals ready for pick up, neatly packed in multi-tiered lunch boxes, which can be conveniently placed in the aluminium ‘dabbas’.
  3. A dabbawala typically collects lunches from around 30-40 lunchboxes from all over the neighborhood.
  4. Around 10:30 am, the dabbawala meets other dabbawalas at the reporting station for the sorting of the dabbas based on their delivery location.
  5. Once sorted, the dabbas are packed into crates and assigned to individual dabbawalas.
  6. The dabbawala then transports his crate, either by bicycle or train, depending on the delivery location. Each crate holds at least 30 dabbas.
  7. Once the destination is reached, the dabbas are again split for final delivery to the assigned local dabbawalas. These dabbawalas deliver the lunches to the final recipient. This is usually around noon to 1 pm.
  8. Once deliveries are done, dabbawalas have their own lunch.
  9. Post lunch, the dabbawalas collect the now empty tiffin boxes and return them to the maker’s homes, following pretty much the same process in reverse.

Challenges faced by Dabbawalas

To ensure that the tiffin reaches the right recipients, dabbawalas have their own unique color coded system in place. The major challenges faced by the dabbawalas is ensuring timely delivery against traffic and train delays. Even so, mistakes in delivery are rare, and delays infrequent. The rate of mistakes is reported to be less than 1%. The Dabbawalas are an excellent example of teamwork and commitment to work.

Gerenuk Facts and Information

Doesn’t this animal remind you of a giraffe? I mean, look at its long neck! It’s a gerenuk, also known as the giraffe gazelle. I’m in the African Great lakes region, one of the two regions where this beautiful animal is found. The other are where Gerenuks are found is the Horn of Africa.

Gerenuk Characteristics

The gerenuks are an interesting species first discovered in 1878. They are tall slender antelopes that resemble gazelles, but have longer necks and more solid skulls. The name “Gerenuk” itself meas giraffe necked in the Somali language. Although their heads are small, they have large beautifully liquid eyes, and also large ears. These features combined with their lyre shaped (S-like) horns give the gerenuks a striking appearance. Gerenuks are around 100 cm tall on average and can weigh between 30-50 kg. The males of this species are slightly taller than females. They have brown uppercoats and a lighter coat on the sides and underparts. They have a short tail with a tuft of hair at the end.

What do Gerenuks Eat?

Gerenuks are herbivores who eat leaves, flowers and buds alike. They are ‘adaptable eaters’, which means they are quite resourceful when it comes to finding food. Unlike most gazelles who tend to be ground eaters, gerenuks use their long necks to reach up to higher growing vegetation, and may also stand up on their hind legs at times when the branches are too high up to reach otherwise. An interesting thing about gerenuks is that they don’t need water! They get the moisture they need from the vegetation they eat. This enables them to survive in deserts and scrublands as well.

Gerenuk Natural Habitat

They also have no specific breeding season, and tend to live in small groups. Gerenuks mark their territories using their pre-orbital glands. Pre-orbital glands are glands near their eyes which emit a tar-like scent bearing substance). Isn’t that interesting? I also found out that Gerenuks have a variety of calls, depending on the situation they’re in, including a whistle!

Sadly, this animal now has a “near endangerment” status, due to habitat loss and human threats.

Even Trees get Tired!

Notice how trees droop their branches in the evening. After a long day of photosynthesis, trees want to relax their branches at night so they droop them down. This might be similar to the stretching a human does before going to sleep.

How do Trees go to Sleep?

Scientists, using laser measurements, have also discovered that during dawn, or close to sunrise, the branches of trees drop even lower than before.

Why do Trees get Tired?

Some believe that the drooping of branches is due to loss of internal water pressure which causes the leaves and branches to lose their rigidity. Sunlight is needed by trees to create sugar from carbon dioxide and since this happens only during the day, at night the trees seem to relax or you can say ‘sleep’.

During the day the leaves and branches are facing upwards, towards the sunlight. The trees seem to sway and are happy. During the night, the trees have also lost their energy and are ready to sleep.

What are Drones and What are they used for?

Look! In the sky. It’s not a bird, plane, or even superman for that matter. It’s a drone. Probably on a delivery run. Sounds futuristic doesn’t it? But it’s true. Pretty soon, drones in the sky would be an all-too common sight. But first, let’s learn a little about these cool flying machines.

What are Drones?

A drone is an aircraft powered and controlled by computer technology. Which means that it doesn’t need a pilot in it to fly it. It’s also called a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). A drone can either be pre-programmed or be remotely controlled by a pilot. Drones are guided by in-built GPS systems or the pilot controlling them.

What are Drones used for?

There are mainly two types of drones – military and civilian. Both of these are used for myriad purposes, ranging from surveillance and monitoring, as also for delivery of products and services, photography and such. In fact, a majority of drones are used for non-military purposes.

14 Interesting Facts about Drones

  1. The largest manufacturer and exporter of military and defense drones is Israel.
  2. The most expensive military drone is the US-made MQ 9 Reaper, which costs around 14 million USD.
  3. The most expensive passenger carrying drone is the China – made Ehang 184, which costs around 300,000 USD.
  4. The first “armed” drones were created by the USA, while in pursuit of Osama Bin Laden. Since then, armed drones have been used in countless missions.
  5. Drones are used not only for military purposes, but also to help the police fight crime.
  6. Drones are used not only for crime and military surveillance, but environmental surveillance as well.
  7. Drones are used for humanitarian causes as well, such as delivering food and aid to remote areas.
  8. Did you know that drones also help farming? Farmers use drones to map out their crops – to check irrigation systems, and also determine which areas of crops are sick/healthy and make adjustments accordingly.
  9. Drones have also been used by many retailers to deliver their products.
  10. Drones are widely used in covering all kinds of news and international tournaments.
  11. Drones have also captured creative minds, and have founds users in all kinds of creative fields, from photography to music and even stage setup.
  12. Even the real estate market has started using drone tours to their benefit.
  13. Drones are heavily used in the movie industry to capture beautiful cinematic shots.
  14. Nowadays, drones are easily available for everyone to purchase and use for really low prices to boot. This also gives rise to concerns regarding privacy however, and has caused numerous debates by human rights activists.

Drones are super cool, aren’t they?

Frederik The Great Horse

One of the best things about being a traveler is that you get to meet some truly beautiful creations of God. One such creation is Frederik the horse. When I heard that he is the most handsome horse in the world, I just had to see for myself. And what I heard was right! In all my travels I’ve come across few horses that can compare to Frederik the great. He is one handsome horse!!

World’s Most Handsome Horse!

Frederik the Great is a Friesian stallion who shares his name with a Persian king. He’s a stud at the Pinnacle Friesians in the Ozark Mountains in the United States. With his muscular build and lustrously billowing black mane, he turns heads with every sprint, every gallop. His mane seems to read his moods, making sure he never has a bad hair day. Some people even compare him to romance novel heartthrobs! Well, he sure drives the fillies wild.

Why is Frederik the Great Horse popular?

So popular is this horse that he has his own Facebook fan page, with a following of more than 48,000! That’s way more than the Persian king he was named after! Frederik’s an equestrian performer as well, with fans eagerly awaiting his arrival in their city. He’s also a favorite model-cum-inspiration for photographers and artists alike. In fact, there are several fan-arts dedicated to this handsome stud. I’m going to try and catch his performance live at his next show!

Petra, Jordan – Lost City of Stone

Woohoo! I’m tracing the footsteps of Indiana Jones! Well, not exactly. But I am right where a lot of scenes from the blockbuster movie were shot. That’s right, I’m in Petra, Jordan, a city that was lost to the world for several centuries!

Where is Petra located?

Carved into the warm hued sandstones in the midst of desert canyons and mountains, the city of Petra was a capital city and thriving trading center of the Nabataean empire way back in 400 B.C. Centuries down the line, it fell to ruins and sat undiscovered and empty till the 1800s, when it was rediscovered by a Swiss explorer. In 1985, UNESCO declared Petra a world heritage site.

The History of Petra

Famous as it is, Petra is without any doubt the most important tourist junction of Jordan. And although much has been written about its beauty, words simply do not do justice to this rose tinted ancient city. The entrance to the city is through Siq, a narrow 1km long gorge, flanked on both sides by 80m high cliffs. At the end of the Siq lies the famed treasury, a small hall that was once used as a royal tomb. This chamber was the target of many a raider, who came in looking for valuables to loot.

What is Petra famous for?

The treasury is just one of the many archaeological wonders that Petra has to offer. Throughout the city, you will find many intricately carved and seriously well designed tombs and structures. There’s even a theatre that could easily seat 3000 people! And it has kept till today. Natural calamities like earthquakes destroyed the houses that once stood here, but the tombs, true to their purpose, are still intact.

This isn’t a city you can explore fully in a day. In addition to the many tombs are also two museums to explore and learn about the history of Petra. The Nabataeans were an industrious people who were excellent at building as well as trading. The ruins of their transport, irrigation and storage systems are proof of that.

According to archaeologists, to this date, only 15% of the city has been uncovered. The vast city is still majorly underground. It’s easy to see why these beautiful ruins inspire so much fiction. A must visit whether you’re an Indiana Jones buff or not!

The Story of Goddess Durga

Goddess Durga and Mahishasura

Indian mythology is full of tales that inspire awe and wonder. The tale I am about to share is one such story.

Once upon a time, thousands of years ago, there was a tyrant called Mahishasura.

He was part demon and part buffalo.

Mahishasura meditated for thousands of years so he could please Lord Brahma and in return be blessed with immortality and power.

After much penance, his plan worked.

Lord Brahma came to him and said, “I am very pleased with your devotion. Ask me any boon that you desire.”

Without batting an eyelid, the arrogant Mahishasura said, “Lord, I don’t want any man or God to be able to kill me.”

Brahma raised his hand in blessing and said, “Tathastu. So be it, my child.”

A twinkle in Brahma’s eyes gave away the fact that maybe Mahishasura had left a loophole while seeking his blessing. Time would tell.

Armed with this boon, Mahishasura considered himself immortal, as no man or God could lay hands on him. He went berserk. In his rage and pride, he practically destroyed the Earth. The lands were soon covered in his darkness and his massacres were widespread. Not only that, he chased away the Gods out of heaven.

Scared, the Gods went running to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and narrated their misfortune.

They pleaded for protection and said that if something was not done soon, the heavens and the earth and all the beings there, would be destroyed.

The lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva were hopping mad. They conferred for a moment. And then they held each other and started to radiate a blinding light. A light never seen before. A light so bright, that even the sun paled in comparison. Seeing this, the other Gods also joined in and the light shone even brighter.

Out of this beautiful light, was born the ten armed Goddess Durga, the embodiment of Adi Shakti.

Being a woman, there was nothing stopping Goddess Durga from killing Mahishasura, as his boon only protected him from men and Gods. Such was the cunning and smartness of Lord Brahma.

One by one the gods approached her and gifted her a dazzling array of weapons.

The mighty Sudarshan chakra was given to her by Lord Vishnu.

Lord Shiva gave her a dangerous Trishul.

She got a Quiver full of arrows from Lord Varuna, the God of the Sea.

Lord Yama, the God of Death, gave her a powerful Sceptre.

Lord Indra, a Thunderbolt, to rattle the earth.

Lord Vishwakarma, the Architect of the Gods, a menacing axe.

Kaal, or Time, gave her a sharp sword.

She got a kamandal, or pitcher, from Lord Brahma.

Agni gifted a flaming dart.

Airavata, Indra’s white elephant, gave Goddess Durga a bell.

Its noise helped her confuse the demons.

The mighty Himalayas gave Goddess Durga a lion to ride upon.

Armed with ten weapons gifted to her by the gods, one for each arm, she looked ready to show Mahishasura who the boss was and went into battle with him.

Durga battled Mahishasura for ten whole days.

On the tenth day, she managed to chop off his head with her sword.

At last, the balance of life was restored. Life came bouncing back on the trees, rivers, skies and the heavens.

To celebrate this victory, we perform Durga Puja every year and remember the great heroics shown by Goddess Durga.

Durga Puja is a ten day carnival in Bengal.

On the last day, Vijay Dashami, we celebrate Goddess Durga’s killing of Mahishasura.

This day is also called Dussehra and we celebrate Lord Rama killing Ravana too. Did you know that before Lord Rama went to Lanka, he prayed to Goddess Durga for her protection and blessings?

The Story of Goddess Durga in Hindi : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzJo4hFAi2s

Related Article :

Pointing Laser at a Plane is a Federal Crime!

Laser Pen alert!

People have been arrested in the United States for pointing laser pens at Aircrafts. Such an act not only forces the aircraft to come to a halt, abort missions but can also be dangerous and send the pilot in panic mode.

Can a Laser light reach a Plane?

Laser beams, people think, do not reach that far a height but actually they do and aircraft pilots can well identify them. Even a very weak beam can be a big distraction for a pilot.

Also, if one points a laser beam at an aircraft, it is also easy for the pilots to tell the ground police as to where the beam is coming from; making arrests easy.

Why is pointing Laser at Aircraft dangerous?

A laser pen projects a small beam, but at longer distance the beam is much larger. The beam spreads in width and when the beam falls on the windscreen of a cockpit, imperfections on the glass spread out the beam even more. This makes it more difficult for the pilot to fly. Sometimes strong beams can cause eye damage or even eye injuries to the pilots.

Distraction, glare and flash blindness are the charges one would be responsible of if they flash a laser pen beam on an aircraft.

What causes Forest Fires?

Ever wondered what would happen if a forest caught fire? Because of the easy availability and proximity of flammable substances, a forest catching fire would wreak havoc on ecosystem and cause serious damage to the flora and fauna. This havoc wreaking phenomenon is referred to as forest fire, wild fire or bush fire. Let’s see what causes them.

Causes of Forest Fires

Fire of any kind is dependent on the availability of 3 key ingredients. These are fuel, oxygen and heat. This is called the fire triangle. In a forest, two of the three triangle elements, i.e. fuel and oxygen are always present – fuel in the form of biomass and vegetation, and oxygen that is a natural by-product of plant respiration. The only element left, is heat and when that becomes available, a forest fire may occur. Forest fire can be caused by natural or man-made causes.

Natural causes of Forest Fire

  • Lightning storms that are dry, i.e. unaccompanied by rain.
  • Volcanic eruptions that cause hot lava to burn everything in its way.
  • Underground coal fires, which continue to burn long after ground fires have been extinguished can cause forest fires to reignite or spread.
  • Spontaneous fires, that occur when weather conditions are dry and produce enough heat to induce spontaneous combustion.
  • Sometimes, sparks induced by rockfalls can also cause forest fires in the vicinity.

Man-made causes of Forest Fires

Man-made causes of forest fires include a myriad of reasons, most of them avoidable

  • Smoking in a forest is likely to cause fires from the sparks that fall to the ground, as also from stubs that aren’t fully extinguished.
  • Recreational activities like campfires and bonfires can also cause forest fires and hence warrant extreme caution.
  • Equipment related fires are also quite common, and hence warrant caution.
  • Another significant cause for forest fires is arson for clearing lands, which often goes out of control.
  • Global warming, another human induced disaster, also contributes to forest fires by way of increased draughts.

It has been observed that human mishaps account for the majority of forest fires. We really must be more careful with our precious forest resources.

Pamukkale, Turkey

Hot water in white terraces! That’s what’s around me here at Pamukkale, Turkey. Located in the inner Aegean region of Turkey, Pamukkale is a natural site featuring hot springs and white travertines and it’s one of the most beautiful places to see in Turkey.

The Cotton Castle

Pamukkale means “cotton castle” in Turkish, and the place is rightly named so. Owing to the deposits of calcium carbonate by the flowing water, the hot springs are surrounded by white terraces. And as these terraces and pools rise up, the area appears like a white castle.

Facts about Pamukkale

The ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis was built on top of this white castle, the ruins of which can still be seen from 20 km away! The ruins are still remarkably well preserved, owing to efforts taken when the site was declared a world heritage site. Prior to the declaration, the location was in danger of being totally damaged due to hotels and roads being built over the ruins.

Ruins of Hierapolis

One of the best things to do here is walk up to the ruins of Hierapolis, where you can bathe in the mineral water pools. Because of its status as a world heritage site, preservation efforts are now undertaken, to ensure minimum damage to the delicate calcite deposits. That’s why there’s no footwear allowed here, on the travertines as well the pools. Sure this makes the walk to the ruins a little rough, but it’s still totally worth it. Want a pro-tip? Bring sunglasses and don’t forget your jacket in winter!

It’s rude to Tip in Japan!

Why you should never Tip in Japan?

Tipping is not a part of Asian culture; however some countries still adhere to it. In Japan tipping your server or waiter or waitress is considered rude. If you tip them it means that their business is not doing so well, so here is a little extra money to help your business. This, the Japanese take as an insult.

Japanese Tipping Etiquette

On rare occasions some may tip in Japan but in a tasteful manner. One should put the tip in a nice, decorative envelop; seal it and offer it more like a gift rather than a tip. One should also hand it to the recipient with both hands and with a slight bow.

In many places 10 to 15 percent is added to the bill as a service charge. So you do not have to worry about tipping the person some extra amount. Do not leave a few extra coins in Japan after paying your bills. Chances are that the staff might run behind you to return the money thinking you might have forgotten to carry them!

How does a Search Engine work?

How does Google Search work?

To a lot of people, the internet = Google. In reality however, the internet is slightly bigger than Google. Actually, it’s a lot bigger. And every time we look up “Justin Beiber” or “Game of Thrones new episode” or even “blue sweater”, the search results that magically appear actually have a lot going in behind the scenes. Let’s find out what the behind-the-scene action is and how search engines (even the ones other than Google) work.

Search Engines work using three basic stages:-

1. Crawling

The stage where content is discovered.
In the crawling stage, what basically happens is, bots (called spiders), visit (or crawl) websites at incredibly fast speeds, and analyse all the content on the website, including but not limited to its layout, ads, the words, numbers, images, keywords and links. Any new links found are also added to a list to links to be crawled. Crawling is a continuous process. Spiders crawl websites all the time to constantly update the database.

2. Indexing

The stage where content is analysed and stored in databases.
In the indexing stage, all of the data collected by the bots is sorted and filed in huge databases. The database is constantly updated by re-crawling websites.

3. Ranking and Retrieval

The stage where data is fetched in response to a query.
This is the most relevant part of the equation for you and I. Whenever a query is made, the search engine displays results that are most relevant to us. This is done by using various algorithms to “rank” the data retrieved. This is also where search results may vary from engine to engine. Different algorithms rank data differently. Some may rank those results higher that contain greater instances of the words searched for. Some may also consider the proximity of the different words in case of multiple words. Still others may consider the page ranks of the source websites to rank the search results.

A search engine does all that to ensure that the results it displays is the one most relevant to you.

Who would’ve thought that so much work goes in behind a simple Google Search? Amazing isn’t it?

Tianzi Mountain, China

Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve

If you thought I was in the Avatar movie, you’re forgiven. I’m at Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve in China, the stunning inspiration for some of the magical shots from Avatar.

Son of Heaven

Tianzi means “Son of Heaven” and the mountains take their name from a man named Xiang Dakun. He led a farmer’s revolution and called himself by the name “son of heaven”. Visitors can see many iconic sites about the story of Xiang Dakun all around this area, with site having its own legendary story. The best one I heard was that of the Yu Bi (imperial brushes) peaks. These pine-covered peaks rise upward into the sky and the legend behind them is that they are brushes the Tianzi-Xiang Dakun used and that they became stone peaks after his martyrdom. How mystical is that?

Facts and Features of Tianzi Mountain

Tianzi Mountain is one of the four scenic spots in Wulingyuan. Each season offers visitors a different beautiful sight to behold – the misty sea of clouds, the jungle of the stone towers, mesmerizing rays of sunshine as the sun rises and the snow covered peaks in winter. The reserve extends over an area of 67 sq. kilometers. The highest peak here is about 4140 ft above sea level. The mountain is also called “the monarch of the peak forest”, owing to the spectacular view of over 2000 sandstone peaks that it offers. You can see all the scenic spots of Wulingyuan from the 100+ observation decks here, so the name is well deserved!

Visitors can take the 6 minute cable car ride to the top, all the while enjoying the beautiful scenery around. Hiking is too dangerous due to the lack of a trail. It’s no wonder that this place inspired the magical land in the movie – the view is otherworldly indeed!

Space Debris – A Big Problem!

What is Debris in Space??

These space debris, orbiting the earth are mostly old satellites, junk discarded from rockets, and satellites that have collided.

How much Junk is there in Space?

19,000 of these junk pieces are larger than a softball, more than 5 centimetres and can cause great damage. These can alter satellite operators including the International space station. NASA tracks debris so that they can remove them but doing so takes time and resources. But with time, the debris are increasing and if scientists are not careful then such debris will keep on growing. This can increase chances of collision and add to more debris. This will grow so much so that a large part of space will become unusable.

The danger of Space Debris!

All objects or debris in space travel at speed. Even a centimetre long screw can cause a huge damage if a major collision happens. And even if debris is a tiny grain size, it can gradually erode the surface of spacecraft in orbit. Each collision means loss of mission and time.

Rockets have been sent to space but not thought as to how they will behave after years of orbiting. When a rocket or satellite leaves the earth, it comes on contact with the space and the sun. The sunlight can be so harsh that many satellites have exploded leaving such dangerous debris or space junk behind!

Facts about Raccoons

Raccoon’s Secret Powers

The raccoon sometimes spelled racoon. If anybody told you that raccoons have powers, would you believe it? If yes, you would probably be thinking about Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of Galaxy. But he’s not the only resourceful raccoon. In fact, all raccoon’s are incredibly resourceful!  Raccoon’s are small to medium sized mammals native to North America.

Let’s learn all about them –

What does a Raccoon look like?

They have a distinctive black mask of dark fur across their eyes and a thick bushy tail. Their colours range from grey to reddish brown and vary with habitat. Typically, they weigh around six to seven kilograms and have a stocky build. Males are generally heavier than females.

Where do Raccoons Live?

Although they prefer living in moist woodland areas, raccoons are survivors and can adapt to most areas really well. They are found in farmlands and even suburban and urban areas.
Life span – Around 16 years in the wild, and close to 20 in captivity.

What do Raccoons eat?

Raccoons are omnivores like humans. Another great thing about raccoons is that they have the ability to figure out if an item is or isn’t edible. Thus, they’ve evolved to eat just about anything – be it pizza, grass, chocolates, birds’ eggs and even fried chicken! They source most of their food from urban trash cans

What their behaviour is like?

Primarily nocturnal, raccoons generally come out at night to find food. They might not have a cat-level night vision, but they do have an interesting ability that lets them see in the dark. Raccoon’s can see with their hands, i.e., by touching an object, they can figure out what it is, and most importantly, whether or not they can eat it.
Raccoon’s have a shuffle like walk and are excellent climbers and strong swimmers.

5 Raccoon Fun Facts

  1. Raccoon paws are different from those of cats and dogs – they don’t have webbing in between their digits. This helps them have a great grip on things, which is probably why they’re such great climbers.
  2. They can also do a 180 degree rotation with their heads.
  3. Raccoons make terrible pets – Although baby raccoons are incredibly cute, it is a very bad idea. Raccoons have no morals, and can be a destructive force to have in your living room. If you don’t want your house to look like a house torn apart by a mob, it would be wiser to leave the raccoon outside.
  4. Another reason to not have them as pets is the large number of dangerous parasites they carry, and spread around in their foul smelling black poop.
  5. So many cool abilities right? No wonder a raccoon was the animal of choice for the Guardians of Galaxy movie.

How Ganesha Got His Elephant Head

The Birth Story of Lord Ganesha

“Hi! My name is Ganesha, and you probably see me everywhere. Do you know how I came to be? Well, let me tell you.

Once upon a time, high up in the Himalayas, my mother Parvati lived with her husband Shiva. One day, my mother sat down to make a sculpture of a boy. She carefully moulded the clay and ended up making a cute little boy, with chubby cheeks and everything. She looked at his chubby and roly likeness and was very pleased with her creation.

So, she decided to give it life, and this clay sculpture- me- came to life. We were both ecstatic. Since my mother had got dirty from making me, she decided to take a bath. As my father, the great Shiva, was away, she told me to guard the door and not let any strangers in.

Now, I had never seen Shiva, as I was just born. I sat outside, playing with a stick and minding my own business, when a large man, all blue and cool, came up to the hut. Not knowing who he was, I yelled, “Stop!” and he replied, “How dare you? I, am Shiva.”

With that, he raised his trishul and swiped off my head. Hearing the noise, my mother came running out of the hut and shrieked, “What have you done to our son? I made him out of the earth, with such love! And you have gone and chopped his head off?”

Boy, was Shiva in trouble. He promised my mother that he would find a suitable head for their little boy. So, off he went into the forest. Bish, bash, boom! We heard a cacophony of sounds and then an elephant trumpet.

Shiva was back in no time, with the head of an elephant, which he fixed on to me. He then patted me and told me how proud he was of me, for fearlessly obeying my mother’s orders and gave me blessings of prosperity and intelligence.

Since then, I’ve been known by many, many names, like Vighnaharta, Siddhivinayak, and Vakra Chandra.And I, am the remover, of all obstacles.

Learn How to Draw Lord Ganesha using our fun drawing video
For more such interesting General Knowledge articles and videos, visit: GK for Kids.

Badab-e Surt

Never have I ever seen natural springs in such colors! I’m at Badab-e Surt in Iran, and these springs are a treat to behold! The sight of the different colored minerals melting into one another is rivalled only by the color the water takes on by reflecting the sky!

Where is the Badab-e Surt located?

Badab–e Surt, located in the Mazandaran province in Iran is a range of terraced travertine formations, formed over thousands of years by the deposits of water and minerals from two distinct natural springs as they cooled down. “Badab” actually refers to the carbonated water found in natural springs, while Surt means intensity. It also happens to be an old name for the Orost village.

Facts about Badab-e Surt Hot Springs

The two hot springs that formed the Badab–e Surt have different compositions of water, with one being very salty and the other being sour. The salty pool of water is said to have medicinal properties, especially helpful in curing rheumatism and certain types of skin ailments. The sour pool of water is distinctly orange in color due to the high concentration of iron oxide sediments at its outlet.

Badab–e Surt is one of those tourist places that should only be visited with a guide, and not simply because it is difficult to find. The place is delicately beautiful. My guide tells me that every inch of the formation has taken nearly 200 years to form, and can be ruined by hordes of rampaging tourists. The entire landscape is marvelous to look at, with warm hued pools of water reflecting the skies, beautifully set off by the surrounding scenery that ranges from rock quarries to pine forests and shrubbery.

A definite must-see, and a place that needs to be preserved for generations to come!

Plaster of Paris Idol Immersion Affect on Environment

Have we stopped to consider the Environmental impacts of Ganesh Chaturthi?

  • Water pollution caused by immersion of plaster of Paris idols into natural water bodies.
  • Water pollution caused by chemical paints used on these idols.
  • The waste generated by non-biodegradable accessories used during the worship.
  • Noise pollution
  • Traffic congestion
  • If you do celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, please immerse the idol in a water tank available in your city instead of into natural water bodies.
  • Use only natural clay idols.
  • Immerse a symbolic representation of the idol like a betel nut and reuse the same idol every year.

To read and download more Lord Ganesh related articles, free wallpapers, greeting cards and coloring pages please visit this page.

For more environment related articles and videos, visit: https://mocomi.com/learn/environment/.

Chameleon saliva is 400 times stickier than human saliva!

Chameleon saliva is 400 times stickier than human saliva. Zip-Zap and boom- that is how it catches its prey which gets stuck to its tongue and the chameleon gulps it!

The Sticky Colour Changer!

They can change colours, have parrot like feet, eyes that can look in opposite directions at the same time and now this vicious predator has a secret weapon- the tongue of a chameleon!

Super-Sticky Secret of a Chameleon

Scientists have discovered that the tongue of a chameleon has a mucous that has similar properties as that of honey, but stickier.

Chameleon Tongues are as fast as they are Sticky!

A chameleon sticks out its tongue at a high speed to catch its prey and with that same speed it gets it back inside the mouth.

The sticky saliva of the chameleon helps it to hold its prey in its mouth even after the tongue has retracted back.

The shape of the tongue also has an important role. When the tip of the tongue touches the prey; the shape changes to a sort of a cup to get a good grip at the prey. But all the hard work is done by the sticky saliva that does not let the prey get away!

How and Why do Fireflies glow?

Lightning bugs in a field on a summer night are probably the most magical thing to ever see, and often, as we see these bugs work their light magic, we wonder how they do it. Well, scientists have finally figured out exactly what makes these beetles light up. That’s right, even though they’re called fireflies, they’re actually a beetle species.

How do Fireflies light up?

Fireflies produce light due to a biochemical reaction that takes place in their body, specifically, their light organ which is usually in their lower abdomen. Through this reaction, they convert chemical energy into light energy. This phenomenon is called bioluminescence. Bioluminescence is also found in other species such as plankton and some types of algae. Scientists have been keen to know exactly what induces this biochemical reaction to occur and have finally figured it out.

The light producing organs of fireflies are made up of cells which contain the chemical luciferin. Luciferin combines with oxygen, in the presence of calcium and magnesium ions and ATP to form oxyluceferin. The process is sped up by an enzyme called luciferase. This is biochemical reaction that causes light to be produced in a firefly.

The best part about fireflies is that their light is a cold light, i.e. unlike a bulb, it doesn’t give off heat. Thus, if a firefly sat on your palm, you can experience the magic and not feel the sting.

Why do Fireflies light up?

Well, fireflies glow for multiple reasons, such as warding off predators and attracting mates. The glow from fireflies of different species if different. It can be green, yellow or orange. In fact, different species of fireflies also have different flash patterns. This is probably to identify its species and not attract a member of a different firefly species. Some species of fireflies do not emit light at all, relying on pheromones to attract mates instead. Fireflies also emit light to signal to their predators that they wouldn’t make tasty meals.

Side note : Although fireflies in amazon jar make for a pretty sight, always leave holes on the cap for them to breathe and always, always make sure you don’t keep them locked up for more than a couple of days.

Thor’s Well, Oregon

Thor’s Well, Gateway to the Underworld

A while back I heard that there’s a mysterious hole in the Oregon that’s draining the sea. Naturally I had to see for myself so here I am. On the Oregon coast, looking at something that seems to be from a fantasy movie – a huge hole in the sea that seems to endlessly drain the Pacific Ocean. In fact, Thor’s well is also called the drainpipe of the Pacific Ocean!

Cape Perpetua, Yachats

Thor’s well lies along the coastline of Cape Perpetua, a forest headland projecting into the Pacific Ocean. The land is managed by The U.S Forest Service and along the coastline are many bizarre and beautiful sights to see. Thor’s well is one of them.

How deep is Thor’s Well?

It’s a natural fountain that sucks in water from the sea and then spouts it right back into the air, a good 20 feet up, which is also how deep it is. It’s pretty difficult to spot when it isn’t doing its fountain thing, because it’s basically a hole in the rocks. But once you do find it, the terrifying and exhilarating magic begins.

Interesting Facts about Thor’s Well

Thor’s well is a sight to behold, but not for the faint of heart. It is incredibly dangerous to around here with the waves rushing in, to be drained into this seemingly endless hole. But I’m told the hole isn’t endless – it IS 20 feet deep though, so that’s pretty much a permanent departure for anyone who falls in. So be extremely careful if you aim to approach it! That said, brave photographers are always inching closer to get that magical shot of the drainpipe of the Pacific Ocean. Although the hole offers its best views in times of high tide, those also happen to be times when the well is at its most dangerous. So always approach with caution!

How much Water can a Camel drink?

A camel can drink 53 gallons (200 liters) of water in 3 minutes!

Camels can live with little or without a drink for a week or more in very hot weather. They get water mostly from their foods. Of course food has to be moist and cool. Camels drink 53 gallons or 200 liters of in 3 minutes when required.

How can camel drink so much water in few minutes?

All animals have red blood cells. They are formed inside bone marrow and carry oxygen. Camels have oval shaped red blood cells. These cells regulate levels of their body PH, temperature and water present. In hot weather camels get little water .Their blood thickens and they suffer from dehydration. Red blood cells present in their body expand up to 240% of their actual volume. This enables them to drink such a large amount of water within three minutes to recover.

Seasons of the Year

When we think of the seasons of the year, we usually think of the climate that accompanies it. Summer is hot, winter is cold. And the monsoon, well, it’s wet. But have you wondered why the seasons occur at all? And how different areas experience these seasons at different times? In fact, some places don’t have a distinct monsoon at all.

Four Seasons of the Year

There are mainly four seasons of the year – Summer, winter, autumn and spring. Each of these is accompanied by a change in the weather and the surrounding environment.

What is Spring?

Spring is the beginning of the cycle. New vegetation grows, and the weather is generally warm and sunny. Sometimes it rains in spring. It’s the time when the plants and animals come alive and out of hibernation.

What is Summer?

Summer is the hot weather season. Temperatures run highest in summer, accompanied by, depending on the location, extreme humidity or dryness. It is also a time for heat waves and droughts, and even forest fires in some areas. Summer is a time for long days.

What is Autumn?

Autumn marks the beginning of cool weather. It is the time when leaves turn yellow/brown, and animals begin preparations because “winter is coming”. It is also harvest season, which is a cause for celebration in most cultures.

What is Winter?

Winter is the coldest period of the year. The time when animals hibernate, and vegetation decreases. There is a general lull in the environment and in areas where it snows, it is snowman time. The days are shortest in winter.

What causes the change of seasons?

Now we come to the why behind the seasons. There are two major factors that influence the seasons you experience.
They are –

  1. Tilt of the earth’s axis as it orbits the sun
  2. Your location on earth

Why are seasons different around the world?

We know that different areas on earth experience the seasons at different times. This means that when people in the northern hemisphere experience winter, the people in the southern hemisphere experience summer.

Which hemisphere experiences which season depends on the axial tilt of the earth. The earth’s spin axis is tilted at an angle of around 23.5 degrees. Thus, the side of the earth that is tilted towards the sun as it revolves around it experiences summer, while the opposite side experiences winter. In some locations, the earth isn’t tilted towards or away from the sun. At these times, these regions experience spring and autumn.

We’ve often heard that the poles experience 6 months of summer followed by months of winter. Considering this, shouldn’t the snow at the poles melt in the summer? This again is avoided because of the earth’s tilted axis. Even as the earth spins, the poles don’t move. Hence, they never face the sun directly. This means it never gets warm enough for the snow at the poles to melt. And thus, our poles always remain cold and experience frigid winters. On the other hand, the equatorial region of the sun-facing hemisphere gets maximum sun-exposure, and thus experiences hotter summers.

The seasons of the year are yet another amazing aspect of life on earth. They add variety to our time here and let us experience activities like swimming and surfing in warm weather and building snowmen and skiing in cold weather.