Add enough salt to your diet!

Sodium helps to maintain fluid and acid- base balance of our body. We get sodium from common salt. So you must add salt to your diet. You may think “What would happen, if you do not intake salt or sodium chloride?” Deficiency of salt in your diet would give rise to many health problems. It may cause cramps of muscles, tiredness or sickness and headache. If your father do rigorous exercises or work in hot places like furnaces and mines, lose salt from the body in perspiration and urine. Ask him to intake extra salt. In summer, profuse perspiration takes place. Therefore, you should also intake adequate amount of salt, after returning to home from play grounds. However, it should be noted that, people suffering from kidney and heart malfunction should maintain restriction.

Looking for more Health Tip articles? Go to: Quack A Tip for Kids.

What if there was no Zero?

Why do we need Zero?

Zero is the most important number in mathematics. Zero functions as a placeholder. Imagine a number, e.g., 5 and put as many zeroes behind it as you can think of. Zero drastically changes the value of the number from a mere 5 to 50, 500, 5000, 50000 and beyond.

Origin of the Number Zero?

The concept of zero came from India. We use the Arabic number system today. Prior to the discovery of zero people marked the quantities of items. Every item had a separate symbol and sign. Imagine doing this for every item in today’s world!

It was in India that the concept of zero was first understood. It was understood as both- as a symbol and used in calculations and also as an idea. The idea of zero means that it is nothing; empty!

The Hindu used a small dot called shunya to depict zero. The actual name ‘zero’ was given by the Italians. Europeans resisted using the zero numerical Hindu-Arabic system but later on had to accept it.

Importance of Zero in Mathematics

Without zero there would be: No algebra, no arithmetic, no decimal, no accounts, no physical quantity to measure, no boundary between negative and positive numbers and most importantly- no computers!

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!

Mississippi River Facts

The Mississippi River is the most musical river, with innumerous songs being composed and sung over it, over the ages.

Which way does the water flow on the Mississippi River?

The Mississippi flows through the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin in United States of America.

Length of the Mississippi River

The river is the fourth longest river with a length of 3,730 km; and flows at an average of one third of human walking speed.

Discovery of the Mississippi River

  • De Soto discovered this river in 1541. In the last Ice Age, the river was formed from melting glaciers.
  • The Ojibwe Indians founded the name Mississippi from “mee-zee-see-bee” meaning father of the waters.
  • River was the primary mode of transportation before roads and airplanes were invented. US President Jefferson had ordered to find a water route from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean; for trading and shipment of goods. This journey was called the Corps of Discovery.

Historic Landmarks in Mississippi

  • The first bridge was built over the Mississippi river in 1855. It started from Rock Island in Iowa and ended in Chicago in Illinois.
  • The Eads Bridge was the first railroad bridge built over the river in 1874 with a length of five hundred feet. It started in St Loius, Missouri. It was the first bridge to use steel in its structure. It was designed to become a trading center between various states.
  • During the US Civil War, for 47 days war was waged over who would gain control over the river. President Abraham Lincoln had said “The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket.”

Features and Uses : Mississippi River

  • A watershed is an area which collects all the rainfall and the water from streams and lakes, and pours it into the river. The Mississippi Watershed collects more than half of the rainfall United States receives.
  • Agricultural business flourishes near the river, with ninety two percent of the country’s crops being produced here. Oil, petroleum products, paper, coal, coffee etc are all exported over this river. Sixty six percent of grains like soya beans are exported over this river.
  • Two hundred and forty one species of fish are found in this river which is one fourth the type of fishes found in the continent of North America. Sixty types of mussels are found in this river. Recently a larger variety of catfish has been discovered which is devouring all other fishes.
  • Three hundred and twenty six species of birds migrate over this river regularly.
  • 243 million tones of goods have been exported over the river in 1999, which is the largest port, and is located at LaPlace, Louisiana.
  • Eighteen million are dependant on the river for water. It is the third largest watershed.
  • The Great River Road is the largest network of roads and highways along the river. Beautiful scenic views encompass this 3000 miles road.

People can experience the four seasons across the Upper Mississippi River Valley. They can enjoy a warm cup of hot chocolate while watching the snow fall on the river and people fishing; or listening to the robins sing again in Spring while the beautiful wild flowers bloom; or eating ice cream and listening to the various concerts along the river in summer; or watching the trees turn into majestic red and yellow in fall while sipping on apple cider by the river.

10 Interesting Facts about the Mississippi River

  1. Children can walk over this river in Minnesota where the river is not deep.
  2. Water skiing was introduced at the Lake Pepin section of this river.
  3. Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” talks about stories and adventures that took place near the Mississippi river. For the main characters of this story, the river showcases and inspires freedom, adventures and relief from life and slavery.
  4. “So in two seconds away we went a-sliding down the river, and it did seem so good to be free again and all by ourselves on the big river, and nobody to bother us.” From Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
  5. Martin Strel, a Guinness book marathon swimmer, had swum the entire length (3274 miles) of this river. It had taken him sixty six days and at an average of 10 hours each day.
  6. If a droplet of rain fell at the starting point of the river, it would reach the end point, at the Gulf of Mexico, in ninety days.
  7. Poker used to be played on the boats on the river in 1834, and Jonathan H. Green had called it “the cheating game.”
  8. At the intersecting point of north, south, east and west of the river in Memphis is Graceland, the home of famous musician and rock star Elvis Presley. Over six hundred thousand people pay a visit here every year.
  9. The only McDonalds restaurant which floats on a river is on the Mississippi river in Minnesota.
  10. The earthquake in 1811 had altered the course of the river, making it move in the reverse direction.

Related Article:
Click here to know all about the Nile River!

Age Otori

What does “Age Otori” mean?

Have you ever tried a new haircut that turned out to be a really bad idea? You thought you could flaunt your awesome new look but instead wanted to bury the whole thing under a hat? The Japanese have a word for this and it’s “Age-otori”. Pronounced (aah-gey-oh-toh-ree), and it means “to look worse after a haircut”. Here’s hoping your next haircut doesn’t make you use it!

Navratri

Festivals are for fun and food, friends and family, and of course- holidays!!

India has festivals to mark seasonal changes, seeding and harvesting, family occasions – just about everything!

What is Navratri?

Navratri – as the name indicates –is a nine day festival or a nine-night festival.

Navratri is celebrated twice a year in India.

When is Navratri celebrated?

The earlier one falls roughly in April, and ends in Ram Navami, where all Hindus celebrate the birth of Ram, the king of Ayodhya famed for his scrupulous justice. Typically, people fast for the nine days. They don’t stay hungry for the entire time- they eat a variety of grains and cereal, except for wheat and rice. The change of diet is a good practice to ensure the health of the digestive system.

In many parts of North India, there is a ‘jagran’ or ‘awakening’ for the entire period. People stay awake all night, singing ‘bhajans’ or devotional songs together. Pop stars are roped in to keep everyone awake! On Ram Navami the birth of Ram is celebrated with worship and feasting.

When Navratri is celebrated again in October, the nine-day fast is dedicated to King Ram. Ram had spent fourteen years in exile. Around the middle of that time a demon king Ravana kidnapped his wife, Sita and carried her off to his kingdom in Lanka.

After much searching he found her and attacked the 10-headed king with the help of his friend Hanuman. He had slayed Ravana, and restored the balance of good and evil in the world. Navratri celebrates this triumph of good over evil.

In all the northern states of India, Ram Leela – a nine-evening traditional drama eulogising the life of Lord Ram –also concludes on Dasshera, the tenth day. Huge effigies of Ravana are burnt down to much merriment and bursting of crackers and feasting.

Huge fairs emerge in cities and towns across the country where all kinds of food and curio stalls offer their fascinating wares. People enjoy themselves late into the night, gorging on traditional sweets and savouries. In Gujarat, people step out and dance the Dandiya all night long, symbolising goddess Durga’s fight with the demon Mahishasur.

Navratri In the North-East

Navratri in October is also important in West Bengal and the seven north-eastern states of India. Here it is called Durga Pooja. For ten days, everyone in West Bengal is on a holiday – no school, no office! The militant and fiery Goddess Durga is venerated during this time. Worshippers fast for nine days and pay obeisance to huge effigies of Durga slaying the wicked demon Mahishasur.

It is a time when the rich literary and artistic tradition of Bengal is brought out on stage. There’s dancing, drama, painting competitions and so on. Food and fun is high on the agenda of this colourful and culturally rich festival.

Why do we celebrate Navratri?

The purpose of this festival (and many others around the world) is to tell us all that good wins over evil and each of us is meant to chase away wicked thoughts and replace them with good ones.

Project:

The entire story of Ram, Sita and the triumph of good over evil is in the epic Ramayana. Find a family member and ask him or her to tell you about why Ram was exiled in the first place. There are also many other sources online and in books where you can find the information if someone in your family doesn’t know.

Why do we Lie?

Is Lying bad?

Scientists believe that saying white lies sometimes keeps the society running smoothly. Lying in order to make someone feel happy or lying to get you out of a small trouble like not doing your homework, seems okay. But that doesn’t mean you lie all the time. When you keep telling lies for each and every thing; then it becomes problematic and then a person needs some behaviour training.

The Science of Lying?

It sometimes becomes very easy to tell whether a person is lying or not. A simple lie like ‘you have made a nice painting’, will not be caught easily as one might say this to make the other person happy about their painting.

But a lie like a reason for not attending school or not completing your work will have you either sweating or twitching your fingers or shifting your weight from leg to another. Your body language gives it away when you say a big lie. That is why parents and teachers know when you are lying.

Some people lie to make themselves look cool or fit into a group. But this kind of lie also doesn’t stay for long as one day the real person will come out.

Gorilla Facts and Information

A Gorilla looks just a human with its two arms, two legs, and petite ears on either side of the head, eyes that look straight and 32 teeth! They make loud wailing sounds when they cry; but do not have tears. They laugh just like us and can feel anger, sadness etc. They even pick their noses like us! Hanno, an explorer, who met them first, thought they were savage women with hairy bodies!

Physical Characteristics

Don’t make the mistake of thinking the half sized gorilla to be a gorilla’s baby. It is a female gorilla. A male gorilla grows to 5 and ½ feet tall and weighs a whopping 400 pounds. Their body is covered with brown and hairy hair.

Lifestyle of Gorillas

Gorillas are very shy. Male gorillas are called silverbacks simply to show the silver fur growing on their back. Their lifestyle is simple- eat, play and sleep. Female gorillas spend their time in grooming themselves and male gorillas. They find this activity to be very soothing and relaxing. They live in groups called troops, and the female gorilla leaves the group at 8 years to find a new mate.

How do Gorillas Communicate?

Gorillas send out foul odors to communicate! When they are not using this ugly method of communication; they communicate by chest-slapping or beating their chests with open hands, in tremendous excitement or furious wrath. They can understand what you are saying to them and can reply back in sign language! They have difficulty in locating their friends in the dense woods, hence they have developed 20 forms of vocal sounds; that include grunting like pigs, howling like wolves, snorting, and howling like dogs.

Gorillas use their knuckles to walk, as their arms are longer than their feet.

What do Gorillas eat?

Gorillas can eat a gigantic lump sum of 30 kilograms each day which consists of bamboo, ripe fruits, leafy stalks and shoots. They might venture out and eat an insect as a special treat. But they are scared of getting bit by the black ants, so they shake the ground at first to scare it.

Baby gorillas stay with their mothers till the time it is for you to attend nursery school, which is 3 years. Babies learn from other members of the group on how to hunt for food and mingle with others peacefully. Baby gorillas play raucously in the mountains of Africa under the vigilant eyes of their mothers. They can be naughty and pull their mother’s hairs for fun.

Where do Gorillas live?

Gorillas live in Central Africa in countries like Uganda and Rwanda, in forests and lowlands. They live up to 50 years. But sadly they are becoming an endangered species.

10 Amazing Facts about Gorillas

  1. When a baby gorilla is taken away forcefully by humans for use to display in the zoos, the mother gorilla and other gorillas who try to defend back; are killed.
  2. Gorillas are hunted for their meat by humans. We humans also are destroying their natural habitat.
  3. Gorillas are not only hunted by humans, but also by alligators and cheetahs. Fortunately the gorilla cannot swim, and hence the alligator has to attack it on land.
  4. Shockingly, only 5000 gorillas remain in the wild today!
  5. Gorillas DNA matches to humans at 98%!
  6. A gorilla can contract pneumonia just like us, in the frosty winters.
  7. Gorillas will never sleep in the same nest for more than one night!
  8. A female gorilla gives birth to 3 babies only in her lifetime.
  9. A gorilla can be identified by its unique finger print, like humans.
  10. A gorilla does not have a tail like its other primates!

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!

Dussehra Festival Facts

What is Dussehra?

Dussehra (Vijayadashami, Durgotsav) is a Hindu festival that marks the culmination of a 9 day period of festivities called navratri (nine nights), with Dussehra being the 10th. Generally speaking, Dussehra is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil but is also the beginning of the harvest season in India and so people invoke the Mother Goddess to watch over the new harvest season and rejuvenate the fertility of the soil.

This festival is celebrated in all regions of India but different communities choose to observe it in different ways. The dates of this festival are determined according to the lunar calendar and hence it falls on a different date of the Gregorian calendar every year.

What is the story behind Dussehra?

Ancient Hindu mythology extensively deals with the struggle between good and evil, that is the struggle between the asuras (daemons) and devas (gods). The navratri story is of one such asura called Mahishasura, who invaded heaven defeating Indra and driving the devas out of heaven. The gods decided to combine all their powers to create a powerful being that would be able to destroy Mahishasura. The powerful being they created was called Durga and they bestowed upon her their super-weapons. Navratri is said to be the 9 days of battle between Durga and Mahishasura where the goddess finally destroyed the daemon on the 10th day.

It is also believed that on this day Ram, along with Hanuman and an army of vanaras (monkey-like humanoids) defeated the daemon Ravana. They waged this battle in order to rescue Ram’s wife Sita, whom the evil rakshasa had cunningly kidnapped and imprisoned in his palace on the island fortress of Lanka.

How do we celebrate Dussehra?

Durga Puja –

Durga Puja is a prayer service offered to the goddess Durga and is the primary form of how this festival is celebrated. The largest celebrations of Durga Puja happens in Bengal where worshipers set up elaborate pandals and install an effigy of the goddess within it. During the 6 days preceding Dussehra, people give offerings in the form of prayers, and flowers. On the 7th day these idols are submerged in a water body to symbolise the return of Durga to her husband Shiva, who lives in the Himalayas.

Dandiya Raas –

Dandiya Raas is another way in which people celebrate Dussehra. Dandiya is a traditional dance played by men and women who wield short sticks in each hand, hitting them together to the beat of a dhol. It is nicknamed ‘the sword dance’ because this dance form is a mock-staging of the battle between Mahishasura and Durga. It originated in the state of Gujarat but has become popular all over India.

Ramlila –

In most parts of northern India and some parts of Maharashtra, a popular way of observing Dussehra is a re-enactment of the Ramayana called the Ramlila. Since the Ramayana is an epic, only the highlights of the Ram’s life is featured and is timed such that the battle scene between Ram and Ravana, with the ultimate defeat of evil occurring on Vijayadashami. On the last and final day of Dussehra tall effigies of Ravana, along with his son and brother are burned with much pomp and show.
Project –
The gods from all ancient religions have super-weapons. Find out the names of super-weapons wielded by gods from other ancient religions and what their special powers are.

Leander Paes Biography

Childhood

Leander Adrian Paes, the famous Indian Tennis player was born in Kolkata (Calcutta) on June 17, 1973. His father’s name was Vece Paes and mother was Jennifer Paes. Both of his parents were sports persons.

Education and Early life

He studied at la Martiniere School and St. Xavier’s college in kolkata. Later he was enrolled in Britannia Amritraj Tennis Academy in Chennai. Leander was coached by Dave O’Meara.

He is the direct descendant of the great Bengali poet Michael Madhusudan Dutta (19th century) through his mother. He had a live- in relationship with Rhea Pillai in the year 2005. Paes has a daughter named Aiyana.

Career

At present he is the sport ambassador of the state Haryana. He plays in World Team Tennis for the Washington Kastles. In 2010 he joined the Board of Directors of Olympic Gold Quest. Besides, he also acted in the film Rajdhani Express, a socio – political thriller by Ashok Kohli.

Professional Career

Leander Paes began his Davis Cup career at the age of 19 in 1990. He partnered Zeeshan Ali in doubles and won against the Japanese team. He is one of the top Davis cup players with a record of 89 -32 overall (July 2015).

He played a vital role in the Indian Davis cup team. The team reached the World Group (1991-1998). Leander was part of the Indian Davis Cup team which reached the semi finals of the 1993 Davis Cup. The team won against Switzerland and France. So far playing style is concerned he is considered as one of the best volleyers and a very talented dropshotter. He learnt the volleying techniques from former Indian player Akhtar Ali.

Life Achievements and Awards

  • Leander Paes won eight doubles Grand Slam titles.
  • Paes became the oldest grand slam title winner.
  • He won the mixed doubles Wimbledon title 2010.
  • He won Rajiv khel Ratna (1996-97).
  • He received Arjuna Award in the year 1990.
  • He received Padma Shri in 2001.
  • He received Padma Bhusan in 2014.
  • He won Bronze Medal in Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996.
  • Leander Paes had 42 victories in Davis Cup doubles.
  • In 1990 Leander Paes won Wimbledon junior title.
  • Leander won Malaysian Open men’s doubles with Marcin Matkowski in 2014.

For more interesting sports people biographies for kids, CLICK HERE.

Gigil

What does “Gigil” mean?

Have you ever looked at something that’s so cute and cuddly that you just had to pinch it/squeeze it? Maybe it’s someone with really chubby cheeks, or an especially furry or squishy animal. This irresistible urge to pinch/squeeze that often results in sullen/irritable looks from the object of your affection is called Gigil. Pronounced (gee-gee-l), this Filipino word just perfectly describes that mad urge. And it often gets us angry looks from red-cheeked victims.

Drink Milk, Be Strong

How can Milk help you?

Milk is essential to your health. It contains calcium. Calcium is required to make your bones strong. You must drink milk from early age. Otherwise, your bones would become very weak and porous. This may give rise to a bone disease called osteoporosis. People having this disease are prone to bone fracture. Therefore, you should not say “NO” to your Mother, if she offers you a glass of milk. The best time to have milk is before going to bed at night. But make sure, that you do not go to bed immediately after drinking milk. It may cause indigestion. You should have it atleast three hours before. Early morning is also a good time to drink milk. You often say milk tastes “Bad”. Milk can be made tasty if you add some flavours, fruits, nuts and cornflakes to it. So do not give excuses. Just have it everyday!

Looking for more Health Tip articles? Go to: Quack A Tip for Kids.

IRNSS Programme by ISRO

Launch of series of Seven Navigation Satellites from Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System.

Series developed to ensure accuracy of the GPS service for Indians and for defence purposes

  • First launched on April 28, 2016 from Sriharikota
  • Total Cost Rs.1420crores
  • The navigation system has an accuracy of more than 20mtrs
  • To be offered as a Standard Positioning Service and superior coded military Restricted Service
  • Restricted service is an encrypted service provided only to the authorised users
  • All the satellites of the constellation configured identically – with I-1K Bus, compatible for launch on-board PSLV

Several major applications of the IRNSS system

  • Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation
  • Disaster Management
  • Vehicle tracking and fleet management
  • Integration with mobile phones
  • Precise Timing
  • Mapping and Geodetic data capture
  • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers
  • Visual and voice navigation for drivers

Rigorous stabilization, testing, and verification over the next few months for optimum performance and put to use only post intensive testing

PM Modi present at launch of final satellite.

  • Announced that NAVIC is the name of the seven satellites
  • Dedicated to Indian mariners and anglers, for safer navigation when out at sea

India now one of the five countries with an Independent Navigational System

  • PM said the system now ensures freedom from dependence on others for navigation systems
  • Ensures accurate and easy landing of aircraft and better disaster relief
  • Other countries could use our system – covers an area of 1500kms beyond the India border
  • Seven countries currently relying on navigation technology from other countries, could use the Indian technology

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!

Chocolate Modak Recipe

How to Make Chocolate Modaks?

The term ‘Modak’ is a Marathi word. It is a popular sweet in Maharastra. Though its recipe is said to have originated in Maharastra, but it is also common in southern India. It is known as Modhaka, Kozhakkattai and Kudumu in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh respectively. Modaks are of different types, among which the chocolate modaks are quite popular nowadays. You can make it at home very easily.

How much time is required to make Chocolate Modaks?

You can make twelve modaks within thirty minutes. It would take only ten minutes for preparation and twenty minutes for cooking.

Ingredients and Quantity

  1. Milk:- 1/3 cup
  2. Condensed milk:- 1/3 cup
  3. Semi sweet or dark chocolate chips:- ¾ cup or 4 oz
  4. Graham cracker crumbs or digestive biscuits crumbs:- 1 ½ cups
  5. Pistachios (chopped):- ¼ cup

7 Easy Steps to Make Chocolate Modaks

You do not have to give much effort to make chocolate modaks at home. Below are few simple steps which you have to follow to make perfect modaks.

Step 1: Put milk, chocolate chips and condensed milk in a pan and heat (medium to low flame) it.

Step 2: Once the chocolate starts to melt down, keep stirring continuously to avoid burning.

Step 3: After it melts down completely, it would become smooth and shiny. Then, you add graham cracker crumbs to it.

Step 4: Then start mixing it.

Step 5: Add chopped Pistachios to it and continue mixing. Sticky dough will form.

Step 6: Keep it aside to cool down.

Step 7: Now grease your finger as well as the modak moulds with oil or ghee. Then use the moulds to shape modaks.

Why modaks are made on Ganesh Chaturthi?

Modak is known to be a favourite dish of Lord Ganesha. Therefore, it is offered to Lord Ganesha as ‘Bhog’ on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu festival.

Why kids can make Chocolate Modak easily?

Kids can make chocolate modak easily because there is no need to prepare the outer covering and stuffing mixture separately. Chocolate modaks are shaped by using moulds. Moulds are readily available in market.

APJ Abdul Kalam

APJ Abdul Kalam is also known as the Missile man of India. APJ Abdul Kalam was the 11th President of India and a great scientist.

Early Childhood

Abdul Pakir Jainulabudeen Abdul Kalam, born on 15th October 1931 and later known as APJ Abdul Kalam was the son of a boat owner who ferried Hindu pilgrims from the Rameshwaram Temple in Tamil Nadu. His father was also an imam at the local mosque and his mother was a housewife. Little did they know that their son would one day become the first man of India.

Kalam worked as a paper boy to support his father. He had four brothers and one sister. He was not the brightest student in his school but was very hard working. He went on to study Physics and graduated from Madras University. He wanted to become a fighter pilot. He studied aerospace engineering and also completed a PHD in physics to become a scientist.

Career and Work

After completing his PHD Kalam took the post of chief scientist at the Aeronautical Development of Defence research and Development but he was not satisfied with his job.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

He shifted to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as a project director. There he led many projects and was extremely successful at each of them. In 1970, Kalam directed two projects- Project Devil and Project Valiant which were to develop missiles from the successful technology of SLV programmes. Rohini 1 was launched in space using the SLV rocket.

Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP)

Missiles under the mission Agni and Prithvi were launched under Kalam’s leadership and all were successful. He was also appointed as the Chief Executive of the Integrated Guided Missile development programme.

Pokhran II Nuclear Tests

From the year 1992 to 1999 Kalam was appointed as the Chief Scientist advisor to the Prime Minister of India and the Secretary of Defence and Research. During this time Kalam also served as the Chief Project coordinator for the Pokhran II nuclear tests. After this he was known as the Missile man of India.

In the year 2002 Kalam succeeded K. R. Narayan as the 11th President of India and served till 2007.

Achievements and Awards

  1. Kalam was the proud recipient of Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and the Bharat Ratna awards from the Indian Government.
  2. He was also awarded the Indira Gandhi National Award for National Integration.
  3. Not only by the Indian Government, Kalam was awarded medals from the government of USA.
  4. Kalam had received doctorates from 40 Universities. In addition to his work, he had also authored a number of books. Amongst them ‘India 2020’ was the most appreciated and widely read book. ‘Ignited minds’, ‘Mission India’, ‘Inspiring thoughts’ are some of his other books. He also used to give lectures at many reputed colleges across the globe.

Death

Kalam breathed his last while giving a lecture at IIM Shillong. The entire world was saddened by the death of a simple, humble and great man.

You may also like Dr. Abdul Kalam Azad Speech.

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!

What makes the Moon Shine at Night?

Why does the Moon Shine?

In reality the surface of the moon is completely dark gray in colour. Because of its dark colour and a bumpy surface, the moon is able to only reflect 12% of the light that falls on it. The amount of light that bounces back on the earth depends on the orbit, time and place of the moon.

How does the Moon reflect Sunlight?

The moon orbits around the earth. When the moon’s orbit put it in direct forward facing towards the earth, it reflects a larger amount of light, thus making it shiny. This is mostly during a full moon night, when the moon is so bright that it outs fainter objects at bay. When the moon is closest to the earth, it is called a super moon as it is almost 20% brighter than usual. As the orbit of the moon changes, the angle of the light changes and less light is bounced back on the earth. During the other stages of the moon only 8% of the light is reflected.

Did you know that the moon is slowly moving away from the earth? Thousands of years ago the moon was closer to the earth and our ancestors saw a brighter, bigger and shinier moon.

Related Article:

Click here to know more about the Venus Occultation by the Moon.

Gokotta

What does “Gokotta” mean?

The best thing about waking up early in the morning is that you get to hear birds sing their morning songs. There’s a freshness in mornings like no other time of the day. The Swedes have a word for this. Pronounce [zyohh-koh-tah], Gokotta is a Swedish word that describes the act of rising early just to go outside and hear the birds sing!

Rhinoceros Facts and Information

The rhinoceros or the rhino is an interesting animal famous of its thick skin, horns, weight, speed and also their laziness. Rhinos are herbivores living in grasslands and forests. Rhinos are one of the endangered species on earth. Today there are only five species of Rhinos left on the planet – two African and three Asian. Here are some interesting rhino facts for you:

13 Interesting Facts about Rhinoceros

  1. The word Rhinoceros comes from the Greek word ‘rhino’ meaning nose and ‘ceros’ meaning horn. Most rhinos have two horns while some species only have one. Rhino horns have healing properties and thus they are used in medicines. Sadly, because of this many rhinos have been poached.
  2. If a Rhino accidentally breaks its horn, it can grow a new one!
  3. There are five different species of Rhinos. The Black Rhino and white Rhino are African natives. Then we have the Indian Rhino, the Javan Rhino and Sumatran Rhino belonging to Asia.
  4. The white Rhino is the least endangered species of all. Both- the white and black rhino are actually steel gray in colour. They are different in their lip shape. The black rhino has a pointed upper lip while the white rhino has a squared lip.
  5. When left alone a Rhino can live for up to 40 years in the wild.
  6. All Rhino species can weigh up to 1000 kg. The white rhino can weigh up to 3500 kg! Thus, rhinos are considered as the second largest mammals in the world after the elephant.
  7. Rhinos have very thick, protective skin. An adult rhino’s skin can be 5cm or 2 inches thick. But their skin is very sensitive and prone to sunburn and insect bites. Thus rhinos love to be in the water and mud and when the mud dries it acts as protection to their skin.
  8. Rhinos can run real fast. The white rhino can run at a speed of 50 kmph while the Indian rhino can run 55 kmph. The fastest is the black rhino that can run at a speed of 58 kmph.
  9. Rhinos can grow over 6 feet tall and more than 11 feet in length.
  10. Rhinos have a large body but they have really small brains.
  11. Rhinos use their horns not only to battle for their territory but also to protect themselves from lions, tigers and hyenas.
  12. Male and female rhinos fight during their courtship period. Sometimes they even get wounds from hitting each other with their horns. The females keep their babies in the womb for 14 to 18 months. When a rhino calf is born, it can eat vegetation just after one week of birth.
  13. Rhino species go back 50 million years ago when there were woolly rhinos like the woolly mammoths!

Inside a Whale’s Heart

Looks like a big cave. What is this sound? Is there something behind… ohh.. its a giant wave of water!! Awww…

Humph…Humph… how long till I reach the end? I have swam through all the four chambers with this deafening sound of ‘dubb dub’ every ten seconds!

Here comes a gush of blood….swoop! And here comes another…these massive arteries are pumping blood at a jet speed. Do you know these arteries are so big that they can fit a fully grown man inside them?

Inside the Heart of the World’s Largest Animal!

Oh, looks like I am inside the heart of the world’s largest animal- the Blue Whale. Thankfully they don’t eat people but I better hurry and find a way out or I might be pumped into some other organ along with the blood!

The Blue Whale is the largest living animal in the world. Everything about the Blue whale is humongous. And so is the whale’s heart.

3 Amazing Facts about A Blue Whale’s Heart

  1. A blue whale’s heart can weight approximately 180 kilograms, as much as a tractor tyre. Legend has it that the arteries are so huge that a fully grown person can swim inside them! The main artery or the aorta alone is over 9 inch long.
  2. The whale heart pumps 220 litres of blood per beat as compared to 5 to 7 litres of human blood in a minute. A Blue Whale’s heart beats every ten seconds and the beat is so loud that it can be heard at least two miles away!
  3. In the news: Recent research in a museum in Canada has shown that a Blue Whale’s heart is the size of a mini golf cart, not a car as it was believed to be; after they dissected the body of a dead Blue whale who dies in an ice trap. They also say that the aorta can fit a human head inside and not a full grown human.

CHECK OUT 13 Interesting Facts about Whales

What is Heredity?

Definition of Heredity

Have you ever wondered why your grandmother says that your eyes look like your mother’s, or that you have inherited your father’s athletic traits? Have you ever thought why they say “like father like son?” A trait is a unique characteristic that describes a person, like his personality or his physical feature. Your teacher could say that you have a trait of being shy. Traits are inherited qualities which we get from our parents. Your shyness could have come from your mother also being shy when she was of your age. If both of your parents have peanut allergies, then you will also have the trait of being allergic to eating peanuts. The passing on of mental and physical traits from one generation to another is defined as heredity.

For example, parents with black hair will likely give birth to children with black hair, just as parents with long noses will have kids with long noses.

What is DNA and Chromosomes?

Humans have two complete sets of 23 chromosomes, which are microscopic, thread like parts in each cell, containing a protein and an acid called DNA. These carry the hereditary information from one generation to another in the form of genes. Genes is the smallest unit of heredity, which is passed from a parent to their child. The sperm cell however, has one set of chromosomes which combines with the egg cell from the mother, which also has one set of chromosome, and they form a zygote. The zygote develops into the child. Chromosomes are distributed randomly from the parents, resulting in a unique combination of traits in the child. For example, the first child could inherit his father’s above par sense of road directions, while the second child could inherit her mother’s graceful ballet skills.

Father of Genetics

Gregor Mendel, often called the “father of genetics”, had wondered why two pea plants did not look alike like in their pea pod structure and color. His experiments with breeding or pollinating different pea plants, led him to discover dominant traits and recessive traits. For example, brown hair is a dominant trait over blonde hair. So if someone inherits a blonde hair gene from the mother and a brown hair gene from the father, he will have brown hair.

Heredity gives you a chance to explore your heritage. You can discover amusing facts about your parents and what embarrassing behaviors they have, which you also tend to display in front of your friends. If you think your voices is hoarse and loud, then look at your parents, and see who also talks loudly. Make a family tree, and see which fun qualities your parents have inherited from their parents. You will be surprised to see how many of these qualities have been passed down to you also.

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.

Mother Teresa Biography

Mother Teresa or Agnes was born on 26 August 1910 into a Kosovar Albanian family. But she considered August 27 to be her “true birthday” as she was baptised on that day.

Family

The family lived in Skopje the present capital of the Republic of Macedonia. At that time it was part of the Ottaman Empire. She was the youngest member in her family. Her parents were Nikolle and Dranafile Bojaxhiu. She lost her father at the age of eight.

Childhood and Early Life

She was fascinated by the stories of the lives of missionaries and committed to live a religious life at the age of 12. However; she took final resolution on 15 August 1928. Agnes left her family (1928) when she was only 18 years old and joined the Sisters of Loreto at Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland to learn English.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

She arrived in India in the year 1929 and began her novitiate in Darjeeling where she learnt Bengali and taught at St. Teresa’s School. She took her religious vows as a nun on 24 May 1931. She was also known as “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta”. Her authorised biography was written by Indian civil servant Navin Chawla and published in 1992. In 1979 Teresa received Nobel Peace prize.

Mother’s Missionary Works

Mother Teresa began her missionary work in 1948. She became Indian citizen and spent few months in Patna where she received basic medical training in the Holy Family Hospital. Then she started working for the poor. Later in the year 1949 a group of young women joined her leading to the formation of a new religious group working for the benefit of the poor section in the society.

Missionaries of Charity

She received Vatican permission in 1950 to begin the diocesan congregation which turned into Missionaries of Charity. The aim of the organisation was to care those who were found to be neglected and unwanted in the society. In 1952 she opened the first Home for the Dying in Kolkata. She received support from the Indian officials to convert an abandoned Hindu temple into Kalighat Home for the Dying. Teresa renamed it as Nirmal Hriday or Home of the Pure Heart. She also opened homes for other purposes. Some of them are Shanti Nagar or City of Peace, Nirmala Shishu Bhavan, Missionaries of Charity Brothers and Missionaries of Charity Sisters. At present Missionaries of Charity have its branches all over the world.

Why does ice Float on Water?

All of us know that if we place a piece of solid iron in water, it will sink. It is because of the fact; the iron when placed in water displaces certain amount of water. The density of displaced water is less than that of the iron. So it sinks. This is a common rule applicable to all solids. But only exception is the ice.

Ice floats on Water! But how?

A solid floats in water when the density of the displaced water is greater than that of the solid itself. Ice floats in water in similar manner. This happens because of a chemical bonding called hydrogen bonding. Density of solid becomes less when it expands. Water freezes at zero degree centigrade to form ice and it expands. The density of ice decreases by 9% than the liquid water. As a result, ice is found to be floating in water.

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!

Friolero

What does “Friolero” mean?

Are you one of those people who loves snowball fights and all things winter? If so, then the word “friolero” doesn’t apply to you. Pronounced [free-oh-lay-ro], Friolero is a Spanish adjective used to describe people who are especially sensitive to cold weather and temperatures. They’re the type to be typically covered in layers upon layers of clothing come winter. Do you know someone like that?

Nile River Facts and History

Why is the River Nile so famous?

Rivers are water bodies, bigger than a stream or lake and flow into the ocean. River bodies and water bodies are plenty all around the earth. The river Nile is the longest river in Africa and the entire world. It is 4,135 miles long that is about 6,670 km in length.

Where is the Nile located?

Mostly the river Nile is associated with Egypt. But it is interesting to note that only about 22% of this river runs through Egypt. The source of River Nile is at Lake Victoria in Uganda where it is called White Nile and at Lake Tana in Ethiopia where it is called Blue Nile.

Where does the Nile river flow through?

It passes through Kenya, Eritrea, Congo, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. The Blue Nile and the White Nile meet in Khartoum, Sudan from where they move on their long journey towards the Mediterranean Sea.

Ancient Egypt and Nile History

The River Nile has a long association with ancient Egypt. Most of the ancient Egyptian historical sites like Luxor or Cairo are located at the banks of the Nile River. The Nile river had deserts to it’s east and west, while the southern part to the Nile had mountains. The River Nile is shaped as the lotus flower. The lotus has been the symbol in much ancient Egyptian art. The Nile was the main source of irrigation for the ancient Egyptians. But many a times it was also the source for floods. As the days passed the flood water would recede and the river bed would be full of black, rich and fertile soil; which the Egyptians named the ‘Gift of the Nile’. They used to call the river ‘Ar’ or ‘Aur’ meaning ‘black’ because of the black soil left behind. Nile was also the main source of transportation and trade. Even today steam ships are used in Egypt and Sudan for transportation of goods. The bank of the Nile was used to grow papyrus weed which was used to make paper. Not only that, the Nile also provided the ancient Egyptians with building materials and cloth- thus making the ancient Egyptians one of the most accomplished ancient civilizations. The River Nile also gave the Egyptians food. They used spears and nets to catch fish and birds. Hapi was considered as the Nile God and was worshipped and honored for bringing fertility to the desert land.

The Nile River Delta

The Nile River Delta is extremely vast. It drains almost an area of 1,293,000 miles. Due to the vastness of this area, different climatic conditions can be seen. Towards the North, in Egypt and Sudan, rainfall is scarce. Moving to the south, along Ethiopia, there is heavy rainfall due to which the floodwaters move downstream and create fertile soil. The Nile River delta has varied species of animals ranging from crocodiles t turtles, baboons and about 300 species of birds. The Nile valley Sunbird is the most famous.

5 Facts about River Nile:

  1. The Aswan Dam that was built in 1970 on the River Nile has been a huge success in controlling the flooding of the River and nearby areas.
  2. The White Nile Expedition began in 2004 and was started to navigate the entire length of the river. The expedition took 4 months and 2 weeks to complete.
  3. The northern edge of Lake Victoria has water pouring over a waterfall, known as the Ripon falls. Some believe River Nile begins from here.
  4. The Nile River is measured from the Kagera River, a tributary of Lake Victoria.
  5. The period between June and September is known as ‘akhet’ or inundation by the Egyptians, because of the flooding of the River Nile during that time.

How do Animals See in the Dark?

Mother Nature has intrigued us in various ways by bestowing every creature with the necessary adaptations for their survival. Some animals have been gifted with the ability to see in the dark. This unique ability comes in handy when they have to hunt in the dark or successfully hide from those who want to hunt them.

What animals can see in the dark?

Contrary to the popular belief that all nocturnal animals can see well in the dark, many of them actually have poor eyesight. Animals can see in the dark to a certain degree depending on two aspects: the spectral range of light they can see and the structure of their eyes. The thing to remember here is that there is always some light available to use unless there is pitch darkness like that in a cave.

1. Spectral Range

The electromagnetic spectrum is a map of all the types of light that we can see and identify. The electromagnetic spectrum separates all the types of light by their wavelength that depends on how energetic a particular wave is. Waves that are more energetic have shorter wavelengths while waves that are less energetic have longer wavelengths. Human vision is restricted to a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum; there are many kinds of electromagnetic waves that we cannot see. Nocturnal animals, on the other hand, have access to the wider sections of the spectrum and can see the infrared or ultraviolet spectrum as well.

2. Structure of the Eyes

The eyes of nocturnal animals are designed in a way that gives them the ability to sense very small quantities of light. Some of the special features include large eyeball, large lens, wider and much sensitive pupil, more rods in the retina, presence of additional tissue layers, etc. Many nocturnal animals do not have the ability to move their eyes but they have extraordinary rotational ability of the neck. For instance, owls can rotate their neck to almost 270° that augments their night vision. Those who cannot move their eyes or neck much have a spherical lens and large cornea to make up for reduced eye movement. So they can see better in night even without moving the head.

Rods and Cones in Nocturnal Animals

The eyes of nocturnal animals are made up of basically two types of photosensitive cells known as rods and cones. Rods are elongated cells mostly present in the peripheral region of the retina and act as the light receptors, i.e. they receive the available light and send it to the brain where it gets processed. A nocturnal animal’s eyes have far greater number of rods than a human eye, and can therefore receive more of the light available which aides the animals to see better in low light situations. Rods are extremely sensitive to light—their sensitivity being around 500 times greater than that of cones. Merely one photon of light is enough for a rod to be stimulated to send a signal to the brain. Rods have a photosensitive pigment called rhodopsin. Rhodopsin is extremely sensitive to light and plays a vital role in the night vision.

Cones are pointed cells present in the central part of the retina that help the animals to differentiate between colours. Many nocturnal animals have relatively few cones, and are generally colour-blind. This is a sacrifice they have to make for the boon of excellent night vision.

Why animal eyes glow in the dark?

Nocturnal animals have an additional tissue layer at the back of their eyes known as ‘tapetum lucidum’ which reflects light back through the retina. This increases the amount of light entering into the retina and since they have more rods and cones, they can use the available light better than anyone else to see. So, what might be too dark for humans could be just dim light setting for these animals. There is no tapetum lucidum in the human eye. Have you ever observed how the eyes of cats and dogs shine when your car’s headlight falls on them? It makes them look really scary! Well, it is the tapetum lucidum that makes the eyes of dogs and cats shine in vehicle head light. When there isn’t a lot of light in a room, tapetum lucidum works like a mirror and reflects any light available back towards the front of the nocturnal animal’s eyes. It’s almost like these animals get to use the light twice!

Fast Facts about Nocturnal Animals

  1. During the day time, a snake’s vision depends on the movement of prey. At night, snakes sense infrared rays using pit organs. Pit organs can detect infrared heat signals from the warm objects in their surroundings.
  2. Some fish can also see infrared wavelengths. They have a large number of rods in the retina which help them to detect the dim bioluminescence of their prey in the ocean depths.

So, perhaps these animals do not see the world as humans do with all the colours and their hues, but they certainly beat us hands down when it comes to finding way in the dark!

For more such biology articles and videos, visit: https://mocomi.com/learn/science/biology/

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!

Why don’t Spiders Stick to their Webs?

How does a Spider Web look like?

A spider’s web is built similar to a bicycle wheel, with an outer rim and spokes running towards the centre, and a spiral from the centre back out to the rim. The spokes and outer rim are made from dry silk while the spiral is the only bit that is coated with glue.

How do Spiders not stick to their webs?

The spider is smart enough to avoid the sticky sections as it moves and it has very minimal contact with the web, in any case.

Spiders also constantly groom their legs to keep them clear of silk and glue. Spiders do not have oil-producing glands, nor are their legs coated in any such substance. A common misconception about spiders is that some kind of natural lubricant or oil on their legs prevents silk from adhering to them. This is entirely false.

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Food for Healthy Hair?!

What to eat for Healthy Hair?

Your hair needs nourishment. So mama puts oil to your hair. But do you know proper diet is also required for having healthy hair? You must eat fruits and vegetables regularly to make your hair strong and shiny. The four vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E are essential for your hair. Fruits which provide all these nutrients are oranges, limes, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and avocados. Fruits help to increase circulation in scalp. Besides; dark green leafy vegetables are also good source of nutrients. They produce healthy scalp oil and condition your hair. You must drink lots of water too.

Mamihlapinatapai

What does “Mamihlapinatapai” mean?

The word Mamihlapinatapai sometimes spelled mamihlapinatapei. Mamihlapinatapai is derived from the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego, listed in The Guinness Book of World Records. This word captures that special look shared between two people, when both are wishing that the other would do something that they both want, but neither want to do.

Why is Blood Red in Colour?

Why is Blood Red?

Blood is red because it is made up of cells that are red, which are called red blood cells. But, to understand why these cells are red you have to study them on a molecular level. Within the red blood cells there is a protein called hemoglobin. Each hemoglobin protein is made up subunits called hemes, which are what give blood its red color.

Iron makes our Blood Red!

More specifically, the hemes can bind iron molecules, and these iron molecules bind oxygen. The blood cells are red because of the interaction between iron and oxygen. (Even more specifically, it looks red because of how the chemical bonds between the iron and the oxygen reflect light.)

And it’s very important for blood to be able to carry oxygen because when blood flows through the lungs, the blood picks up oxygen, and the blood carries this oxygen to the rest of the body until the oxygen is all used up the blood then returns to the lungs to get more oxygen.

What are the different colours of blood in animals?

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.

Rajinikanth – Shivaji Rao Gaekwad

Early Life and Education

Shivaji Rao Gaekwad or Rajinikanth, the famous Tamil film Actor was born in a Marathi family at Bengaluru, India. His parents were Ramoji Rao Gaekwad and Ramabai. He has two elder brothers and a sister. Rajinikanth lost his mother at the age of nine. He had his primary education in Gavipuram Government Kannada Model Primary School. Later he was enrolled in Ramkrishna Math.

11 Facts about Rajinikanth

  1. Rajinikanth was born on December 12, 1950.
  2. He received Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the year.
  3. He won Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award.
  4. He received Padma Vibhushan ( 2016)
  5. He received Padma Bhushan (2000)
  6. At present he resides in Bangalore.
  7. He began his career by acting in plays.
  8. In his early life he worked as a bus conductor.
  9. He is married to Latha Rajinikath and have two children.
  10. He is also a philanthropist and spiritualist.
  11. He worked as producer and screenwriter as well.

8 Life Transforming Quotes from Superstar Rajinikanth

  1. Meditation is the key to energy.
  2. I will die poor but not as a coward.
  3. God gives a lot of things to bad people, but he will let them fail eventually. God tests good people a lot, but he will never let them down.
  4. You won’t get anything without hard work. What you get without hard work will never fructify.
  5. Where there is a creation, there should be a creator.
  6. Whether you have Maruti or BMW, the road remains the same. Whether you travel economy class or business, your destination doesn’t change. Whether you have a Titan or a Rolex, the time is the same. There is nothing wrong in dreaming a luxurious life. What needs to be taken care of is not let need become greed. Because needs can always be met, but greed can never be fulfilled.
  7. A greedy man and an angry woman have never lived prosperously.
  8. I cannot be an ordinary man, move around like people do, go out eat in a restaurant or take a walk. Perhaps, this is what I have lost.

His debut film was in Tamil named Apoorva Raagangal (1975). Some of his renowned films are Kabali (2016), Enthiran (2010), Baasha (1995) Lingaa (2014), Sivaji (2007), Muthu (1995), Padaiyappa (1999).

Read more interesting biographies of the world’s top movie stars, actors and directors.

Old Tjikko Tree, Sweden

Guess what this is! It’s a selfie with a tree named after a Husky!

Oldest Tree in the World

Confused? I’m at Sweden and what you see behind me is a tree called Old Tjikko, a 9558 year old Norwegian Spruce. And it was named Old Tjikko after the pet Siberian Husky of Prof. Leif Kullman, who discovered it in 2004.

Discovery and Details

Prof Kullman, a Physical Geography professor at Umea University, discovered the tree and determined its age using carbon-14 dating. The professor explains that the visible portion of the tree itself isn’t that old and are around 600 years old. The roots, however, are much older – thousands of years older. The tree has lived this long, researchers say, due to “vegetative cloning”, i.e. the ability of the tree to clone itself. Thus, whenever the stem dies, a new one grows in its place, accounting for the extremely long life expectancy of the tree.

A 9550 year old Norway Spruce Tree

Researchers say that initially, the tree would’ve had the appearance of a stunted shrub due to its harsh surrounding environment. Global warming accounts for the sudden growth spurt. Although it isn’t the oldest tree in the world, 9500 years isn’t shabby, if I may say so myself. And to protect this ancient tree, access to it is limited. People who want to visit the tree may do so on guided tours arranged at the park entrance.
I do hope Old Tjikko lives on. There’s something very serene about a tree that has lived for close to 10000 years!

Eat Fruits everyday to have Healthy Skin!

Foods for Healthy Skin

Our skin needs nourishment. Fruits are rich in vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. Vitamins give you a clear complexion, rejuvenate and hydrate your skin. They improve texture of skin which makes you pretty. You must eat fruits everyday to have healthy skin. Do you know which fruits to eat? The five fruits you should eat are apple, banana, lemon, orange and papaya. Morning is the best time to eat fruits. Before eating fruits drink a glass of water. After a break of 30 minutes you should have your breakfast.

Looking for more Health Tip articles? Go to: Quack A Tip for Kids.

Zhaghzhagh

What does “Zhaghzhagh” mean?

Imagine you’re out in the cold, or you’re extremely mad at someone or something. What’s the one thing that’s common here? Your teeth! In both cases, you’d find it pretty difficult to control the chattering of your teeth. That’s what the Persian word Zhaghzhagh (pronounced zhaang-zhaah-gh) means. Uncontrollable chattering of teeth, due to rage or cold. In both cases, taking deep breaths might help!

Verb Tense Exercise

Fill in the blanks using the verbs below.

Use them either in the past or present tense. Tense exercise for kids.
(open; be; make; say; close; blow; fall; turn; give; shiver; cover; need; see; do)

  • “I ________ going outside,” said Rahul.
  • “Wait!” ________ Rahul’s mother. “Don’t forget your umbrella. And wear your jacket, it is cold out there.
  • “But mom,” said Jerry. “I don’t want to wear it. I will be fine without it. Besides, it is not that cold today.”
  • Rahul ________opened the door. The wind was blowing and ________ a whistling sound. Leaves ________ to the ground because of the wind. He ________a little and stood behind the door.
  • “Rahul!” shouted Rahul’s mom. “You ________ that door and get your coat young man.”
  • “But mom!” said Jerry.
  • “But what?” said Jerry’s mom. “I don’t understand why you don’t want to wear your new coat. Is there something wrong with it?
  • Jerry’s face ________ red. “No!” he said. “Nothing’s wrong with it!” Then he ________ his mouth with his hand.
  • “Well then…” said Rahul’s mom. “Why don’t you want to wear it?”
  • “Well, mom,” said Jerry. “I kind of…well…________ it away.”
  • “You what?” said Jerry’s mom.
  • “Yeah. But don’t worry. It’s okay. I gave it to Marvin. And he really ________ it.”
  • “Why?”
  • “Every time I ________ him, he looks cold. He is always cold, actually. His parents cannot afford to buy him a jacket.”
  • “Well, that is a very nice thing for you to ________, dear. But now what are you going to do without a jacket?”
  • “I don’t know. Maybe I’ll wear my old jacket for a little while.”

Inside a Cockpit

This is a small cube like room and has few chairs inside. Hmmm….wow! Here are so many gadgets and buttons to play with! The chairs are surrounded by these buttons and instruments. These look like a control to some sort of a machine.

Not only are the seats surrounded by these gadgets, so is the ceiling. I wonder who can control so many buttons at the same time! Some are just buttons while some look like levers and there are also screens to monitor.

Oh and just above these cool gadgets there is a huge glass window. Let me just climb on top of one of these seats and have a look.

Hey! This is a runway… so I must be inside the cockpit of an aeroplane! Isn’t that awesome?

What is a Cockpit?

A cockpit is the enclosed area inside an aircraft from which the pilot controls and flies the aircraft. It is also called a flight deck and is right in front of an aircraft.

The cockpit contains an instrument panel which contains electronic flight instruments and controls which enable a pilot to fly the aircraft.

Introduction to Cockpit Components

  1. MCP or mode control panel, a long narrow panel located in front of the pilot’s seat and used to control take-off, landing, speed, altitude and navigation.
  2. The PFD or primary flight display is located centrally on either side of the panel and is used to indicate digitized presentation of altitude, air speed, vertical speed and others.
  3. The ND or navigation display shows the route and navigation.
  4. The ECAM or engine crew alert system allows the pilot of monitor fuel, electrical system, cabin pressure, temperature and so on.
  5. The FMS or flight management system is used by pilots to enter and check speed, flight plans and navigation.
  6. The backup instrument is a battery operated standby instrument which is used in case of failure of main instruments.

The Ring of Fire

What is the Pacific “Ring of Fire”?

The Ring of Fire is the geographical area around the edges of the Pacific Ocean. It is called so because it is shaped as a horseshoe and it has more exploding, active volcanoes and earthquakes than any place on the earth. It stretches for 40,000 kilometres and has 755 of the world’s volcanoes. 80% of the world’s earthquakes occur in this area.

Where is the Ring of Fire located on the world?

A stretch of almost 452 volcanoes are found here starting from the southern tip of South America, up along the coast of North America and across the Bering Strait. It goes down through Japan and then straight into New Zealand. The ring closes in Antarctica where there are many active and dormant volcanoes.

What is the cause of the Ring of Fire?

The ring of fire was caused by the movement of the tectonic plates. These plates are nothing but enormous slabs of the Earth’s crust which move, break and then fit into each other like pieces of a puzzle. Tectonic plates are constantly moving and most tectonic activity occurs in the Ring of Fire region. These plates crash into each other, causing stress on the surface, break, slip, gets stuck, build pressure causing earthquakes and volcanic activity.

World’s Most Active Volcanoes

Most of the active volcanoes are found on the Western edge of the ring of fire. They range from the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia through the islands of Japan, South East Asia and then into New Zealand. Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand is one of the most active volcanoes. Mount Fuji, Japans most famous mountain is an active volcano. Popocatepetl in Mexico is the most dangerous active volcano.

How do Earthquakes occur?

Earthquakes happen when two tectonic plates scrape against each other. The plates are forced underneath each other. The down going plate bends downwards causing the surface to break. The Pacific plate is quite enormous and thus it interacts with a number of small and large plates and cause earthquakes. The South America subduction zone, off the coast of Chile, created the largest known earthquake in 1960.

Cats outsmart Technology!

How Intelligent are Cats?

Man’s best friend is a dog… but scientists have proven that cats are the closest to humans in terms of the likeness between the two species.
A cat has a brain that can outdo humans. Unlike dogs, cats can fend for themselves. A cat is not a pack animal but a sole survivor who can stay happy and healthy on its own.

How smart are Cats compared to Humans?

Cats are curious and also copy behaviours of humans and can master them once they observe and learn.

Humans and cats have almost identical brain structure. The parts of the brain that triggers emotions and memory are similar, although cats have a sharper memory. Humans and cats have similar neurotransmitters that make cats think in the same way as humans.

Do Cats have a Memory?

Cats also have a short and long term memory function. Cats can remember events that have happened 16 hours or even prior to that.

Crazy Scientific Facts about Cat’s Brain

A cat’s whiskers can detect objects, a slight change in atmosphere even before the cat touches something. They are the cat’s vital sensory organs.
A cat has a really tiny head and a brain much smaller in size but can store numerous data. While a large animal with a large brain would not have even half the intelligence.

So next time you see a cat… don’t think it’s stupid… it can ‘Mee…wooww’ you!

What is a Smart City?

Global population is increasing at a rapid pace and so more and more people are moving to the cities to find better jobs and housing facilities. Urbanisation is on an increase and with the increase in urban population our cities also need to get smarter. It is believed that the migration from rural to urban areas is so fast that by 2050 almost 70 percent of the rural population will be living in urban areas. Thus there is a need to make smart cities.

What are Smart Cities exactly?

A smart city is an urban area which is highly advanced in terms of infrastructure, real estate or housing facility, markets, communication and commuting facilities. It is a city where information technology is high and all essential services are easily available for the residents. A smart city has systematic plan, good citizens, business opportunities, sustainable environment, efficient traffic management and good government. It provides assured water and electrical supply, sanitisation and waste management, safety and security of citizens.

Smart Cities in the World

It all started in 2008 when there was a global economic crisis. By 2009 the concept of ‘smart city’ had interested many nations. Countries like South Korea, UAE and China began investing heavily in smart city development. Some of the smart cities in the world are Vienna, Aarhus, Amsterdam, Cairo, Lyon, Malaga, Malta, the Songdo International Business district near Seoul, Verona, Toronto, London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Barcelona etc.

Smart Cities in India

In India, there is an ongoing proposed smart city project. It includes cities like Kochi, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Manesar, Khushkhera, Krishnapatnam, Ponneri and Tumkur. Many of these cities need special tax structures and special economic zones to make it attractive for foreign investors. Much of the funding for smart city projects have come from private developers based abroad.

Some of the smart cities in India are Lucknow, Warangal, Shimla, Chandigarh, Bhagalpur, Panaji, Port Blair, Imphal, Ranchi, Agartala, Faridabad, Raipur and New Town Kolkata.

Smart Cities Mission

India’s smart city project aims at making Indian smart cities the most sought after and populated cities by 2030. They will be the most sought after cities by global manufacturers and service providers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has an ambitious plan to make 100 smart cities in India.

How do Smart Cities succeed?

The success of such cities depends on its residents, government, investors who become actively involved in the progress and implementation of new technologies. Such cities can take around 20 to 30 years in the making.

The Wave, Arizona

Check it out..! I’m in Arizona, Utah and the beautiful landscape you see around me is called “the Wave”.

Sandstone Rock Formation Arizona, United States

Up until a few decades ago, very few people knew of this beautiful formation. Today however, it is a well-known favorite of photographers and hikers alike. Known for its undulating forms in a myriad of colors, the wave is nothing short of a phenomenon. And like all things phenomenal, it isn’t easy to get here. There’s actually a lottery system that dispenses permits on a daily basis, and on any given day, only 10 of those are given out. Or, you could plan the trip at least 4 months in advance and book permits online. This is done keeping in mind the fragile nature of the formation and is a measure of preservation.

Only 20 people are allowed to visit “The Wave” each day!

To reach this surreal formation where only 20 people a day are allowed, you can take any one of four trails – The White House trailhead, the Buckskin Gulch, the Wire Pass trail and the Lee’s Ferry trailhead. Each of these is scenically beautiful, although, the White House trailhead, being the main entrance, is the most commonly used. None of the trails are marked, again, in an attempt to preserve the natural integrity of this beautiful place, I’m told.

The great Sandstone Wave dates back to the Jurassic era!

The hike itself is fairly difficult but definitely worth it. On obtaining a permit, the visitor Centre also provides hikers with a map of the place and information to make the hike easier. You can also opt for a hike guide if you wish and they’ll give you awesome tidbits of knowledge about the wave, such as the fact that this great sandstone wave dates back to the Jurassic era, i.e. 160-180 million years ago. And that it was formed due to erosion and compression of the Navajo sandstone. My guide also tells me that actual dinosaur footprints have been found here in this region. How awesome is that!

Although the place is beautiful year round, spring and autumn are the most popular times to visit. Me? I’m just super happy to have gotten in on my first visit!

Why do Snakes shed their skin?

Do snakes molt?

As mammals snakes are also born tiny and then they grow or mature. As they grow the skin which covers them becomes tight and gets stretched. It reaches a point where the skin cannot accommodate the growing snake anymore and thus the skin comes off or sheds. It is just like a small child getting out of his/her tight clothes.

The new skin that comes on the snake is just like the old one and has the same design or patterns.

How often do snakes shed their skin?

Shedding of snake skin depends on the specie of snakes. On an average a snake sheds its skin two to four times a year. Young snakes grow very rapidly, thus shedding their skin more often- almost every two weeks. The shedding of skin reaches its peak when the snakes reach adulthood. Then it may happen twice a year.

The shed skin is almost transparent to look at. Since the skin has been stretched, the old skin is longer than the actual snake.

You may also like to read Ilha de Queimada Grande: World’s Deadliest Island

Accubation

What does “Accubation” mean?

The act of eating while lying down is called as Accubation. So if you like to eat or drink while lying down on your bed or sofa, you like Accubation, pronounced as ( A-kyu-bae-tion). But do not forget, accubation also makes you fat so sit up straight and eat correctly so the food can digest better.

Steve Irwin – Wildlife Expert

Stephen Robert Irwin was an Australian wildlife conservationist and a television personality. He was nicknamed the ‘Crocodile hunter’ as he was the host of this famous Australian TV show. Irwin was famous for hosting the show with enthusiasm and his khakis.

Early Life and Career

Irwin’s love for the wild began at a very young age. He grew up on Fern Tree Gully in Victoria, loving wildlife, especially reptiles. He caught his first venomous snake at the age of six and always used to arrive late at school because he wanted to stop to rescue a lizard. His parents moved to Beerwah and opened a Reptile and Fauna Park in 1970. The park was home to native wildlife like freshwater crocodiles, tiger snakes, monitors, geese, magpies and kangaroos. Irwin would daily help with the maintenance of the park and animal feeding.

At the young age of just nine years, Irwin would help his father catch hold of small problem crocodiles by jumping on them in the water and wrestling them back to the boat. He would help his father relocate problem crocodiles back into their habitat. Irwin was incredible in climbing trees and had an eye for snake and bird surveys. After graduation, Irwin started helping as a crocodile trapper, moving crocodiles from populated areas to his Reptile Park.

The Crocodile Hunter

It was in the 1980’s that Steve developed crocodile capture and management techniques which are used around the world today. Irwin was enlisted by the Queensland Government to help volunteer for crocodile capture to relocate them to safe habitats. Irwin captured over 100 crocodiles that were moved to the Crocodile Environment Park.

Australia Zoo

Irwin, along with his wife, filmed a documentary on crocodiles which was an immediate success and it was picked by the American cable and shown on Animal planet. Thus the ‘crocodile hunter’ was born where Irwin and his wife filmed almost 150 episodes. He and his wife put all the money earned from the show towards the management of wildlife in the family reptile park, later renamed as Australia Zoo.

‘Crocodile Hunter’ Killed by Stingray

In 2006, while filming a program in Australia, Irwin died while snorkelling near a stingray and its barb pierced him right in the heart.
Steve Irwin was famous for educating the young about nature and wildlife, especially reptiles. He loved animals since his childhood and followed his passion his entire life.

3 Interesting Facts about Steve Irwin

  1. On his 6th birthday, Steve was given a large python.
  2. November 15th, Steve Irwin Day is an annual international event honouring the life and legacy of the one and only crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin.
  3. He helped educate Australians on how to deal with snakes and avoid deadly snake bites.

“My belief is that what comes across on the television is a capture of my enthusiasm and my passion for wildlife.” Steve Irwin

Pursue Your Favourite Hobby this Holiday!

The holiday season is on and it is the best time to pursue your favourite hobby- painting. But can painting be done only with colours, brushes or pencils or can we do something fun as well?

This holiday try something new. Try and paint designs with white glue and try and sprinkle sparkles on top. Spread some wet paint on a sheet and roll your marbles on them to make a masterpiece. You can even drag a comb or a thick washer man brush on top of the paint to see a rainbow effect. Try and make your wacky paintings today!

Looking for more Health Tip articles? Go to: Quack A Tip for Kids.

Top 10 Olympic World Records

What is Olympics?

Olympic Games are grouped into Summer Olympic Games and Winter Olympic Games. Summer Olympic Games or the game of Olympiad was introduced in the year 1896. There were four groups of athletics events such as track events, field events, road events and combined events. Winter Olympic Games took place for the first time in 1924. In the beginning it included five games namely, bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, Nordic skiing and skating which were subdivided further in later days. Several world records were made in Olympics.

Top 5 Summer Olympic World Records

  1. Swimmer Michael Phelps from United States set world record by receiving 8 gold medals in Beijing (2008).He made world records in 400 individual medley, 4×100 meter and 200 metre freestyle relays, 100 and 200 metre butterfly.
  2. Sprinter Usain Bolt from Jamaica earned the title of World’s fastest man in Beijing by winning 100metres in 9.69 seconds(2008)
  3. Melani Walker from Jamaica won gold medal by capturing 400 metres hurdles record in 52.64 seconds at Beijing (2008)
  4. Swimmer Rebecca Adlington from United Kingdom set 800 metres freestyle record with a time of 8:18.06 in Beijing (2008)
  5. Nadia Elena Comaneci from Romania won three gold medals in Montreal and scored 10 out of 10 in an Olympic gymnastic event (1976)

Top 5 Winter Olympic World Records

  1. Canadian freestyle Skier Alexandre Bilodeau from Montreal received gold medal in men’s moguls held in Vancouver (2010).He scored 26.75 points.
  2. Mikaela Shiffrin from USA became the youngest – ever Olympic champion(18 years and 345 days) in Alpine skiing held in Sochi (2010)
  3. Ole Einar Bjorndalen , Norwegian biathlete became the winner of the Sprint 10 km and mixed relay held in Sochi (2014)
  4. In speed skating Sven Kramer from Netherlands won men’s 5000 metres in Sochi (2014)
  5. Noriaki Kasai from Japan became the oldest ski jumper to receive medal in Winter Olympics at Sochi (2014).He received silver medal in large hill individual and bronze medal in team large hill.

Rio 2016 Olympics

Rio 2016, the Summer Olympics officially known as Games of the XXXI Olympiad was held in Rio de Jeneiro, Brazil from 5 to 21 August 2016. There were 28 sports, 41 disciplines and 306 events in this summer Olympic. Two new sports added to the list were golf and rugby seven. The events held at 33 venues in the city of Rio and 5 venues in cities namely, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasília, and Manaus. Cate Campbell, woman swimmer from Australia broke 100 metres world record this time.

International Space Station (ISS)

13 Awesome Facts about the International Space Station (ISS)

  1. The International space station (ISS) is a working laboratory placed 240 miles above the Earth, housing an international crew.
  2. The construction of ISS began in November, 1998 when the Zarya Control Module, the first piece of its structure, was launched into the space through a Russian Proton rocket.
  3. The ISS is even more spacious than a conventional five-bedroom house.
  4. The ISS completes 15 orbits in a single day.
  5. The astronauts stationed at ISS have taken more than 200,000 photographs of the earth.
  6. The mass of ISS is around 419 tonnes.
  7. The ISS takes about 90 minutes to complete one orbit.
  8. There are over 50 advanced computers working on the ISS.
  9. An astronaut mission to the ISS lasts for half a year.
  10. There are always six astronauts stationed on the ISS.
  11. The cost of the ISS is more than 100 billion dollars.
  12. Several countries and space agencies like USA, Russia, ESA (European Space Agency), Japan, Canada, Brazil and Italy are engaged in the construction of the ISS.
  13. The construction of ISS is expected to be completed by the end of this decade.

Mexico – World’s Most Traffic-Congested City

Traffic Congestion in Mexico City

Drivers in Mexico spend 58% of extra travel time stuck in traffic during the day.

They spend up to 103% extra traffic time during peak traffic hours in Mexico City.

On an average, a normal journey in Mexico City takes around 59% longer than in an uncongested place. No matter what time of the day, you are bound to get stuck in traffic here. Building new freeways has not eliminated this traffic congestion. The amount of cars on the road is higher than the amount of space allotted, thereby increasing traffic.

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Rio Olympics 2016

It’s Olympics time again! The Olympic Games are an international sporting event, alternating between the Summer Olympic Games and the Winter Olympic Games. The gap between two summer events or two winter events is 4 years. The last summer Olympic Games were held in 2012, and the venue was London.

The 2016 Summer Olympics

This year (2016) is the year for the 28th Summer Olympic Games. The venue for the event is Rio de Janerio, Brazil. It is the first Olympic event to be held in South America and the host city has undergone major infrastructure upgrades to suitably host the mass-event.

The first edition of the Olympic Games, which was way back in 1896 only saw 9 sports being contested. Since then, the number of contested sports has gone up. The last summer Olympic Games saw 26 sports being contested, and 2016 will see 28.

A place in the Olympic Program is a great honor and also a popularity for any sport. Each sport is represented by an international organization, or Federation. The various federations bid for a place on the Olympic Program. The contested sports vary from event to event. Some of them may win a place on the program, but may be discontinued due to lack of interest or absence of a proper governing body.

For example, after 2008, baseball and softball were discontinued, whereas golf and rugby have been added to the 2016 program. Since 1896, only
five sports have been contested every time. These are – Athletics, Cycling, Fencing, Swimming and Gymnastics.

Sports of the Olympic Games

The 2016 Summer Olympics will see the following 28 sports (a total of 306 events from 41 disciplines) –

  1. Archery (4 events)
  2. Athletics (47 events)
  3. Aquatics (46 events from the disciplines of swimming, diving, water polo & synchronized swimming)
  4. Badminton (5 events)
  5. Basketball (2 events)
  6. Boxing (13 events)
  7. Canoe / Kayak (16 events)
  8. Cycling (18 events from the disciplines of track, road, mountain, BMX cycling)
  9. Equestrian (6 events from the disciplines of dressage, jumping and eventing)
  10. Fencing (10 events)
  11. Field hockey (2 events)
  12. Golf (2 events)
  13. Gymnastics (18 events from the disciplines of Artistic, rhythmic and trampoline gymastics)
  14. Handball (2 events)
  15. Judo (14 events)
  16. Modern pentathlon (2 events)
  17. Rowing (14 events)
  18. Rugby Sevens (2 events)
  19. Sailing (10 events)
  20. Shooting (15 events)
  21. Soccer / football (2 events)
  22. Table tennis (4 events)
  23. Taekwondo (8 events)
  24. Tennis (5 events)
  25. Triathlon (2 events)
  26. Volleyball (4 events from the disciplines of Beach and indoor volleyball)
  27. Weightlifting (15 events)
  28. Wrestling ( 18 events from the disciplines of free style and Greco–Roman wrestling)

The opening ceremony (Olympics 2016) will take place on August 5, 2016 in the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. It’s just around the corner, so pick your sport and cheer with all your heart for the contestants!

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Lion Facts and Information

Characteristics of the Lion

Lion or “The king of the jungle” is found in savannas, grasslands, dense bush and woodlands. They vary in colour. But mostly they have sport light yellow- brown coats. Mature male lions possess brown or black manes encircling their necks, which protect them while fighting. Lions live in large groups known as “prides”. Each pride consists of about 15 lions. In a pride the number of females and their young are more than the males. A single male, or group of 2 to 3 males join a pride for about 3 years. It has been found that lions within a pride are quiet affectionate in nature. They enjoy company of one another by touching, licking, purring and head rubbing.

Types of Lion

Asiatic Lion

They are also known as Indian Lion or Persian Lion. Asiatic lion is a lion subspecies which exists in Gujarat. They are considered as one of the five big cats found in India. They possess less developed manes and larger tail tuft.

African Lion

They are the biggest of the African carnivores and are tawny to sandy brown in colour. They possess long tail with distinctive black tuft at the tip. The adult males possess manes of varying colours (tawny to black). They have large heads with a heavy muzzle.

9 Interesting Facts about Lions

  1. The scientific name of lion is Panthera Leo.
  2. Lion is the only social member of the cat family Felidae.
  3. Lions feed on both large (Ex. Zebra, Giraffe, Buffalo, Rhinos) and small (Hares, Birds and Reptiles) animals. Their choices vary depending on the availability of food.
  4. Hunting is mainly done by the females. They are nocturnal and move in groups for prey.
  5. The African lion population has reduced by half by early 1950s. At present; the lion population in Africa is less than 21,000.
  6. The roar of a lion is usually heard over five miles away.
  7. They are the second largest living feline species next to tigers.
  8. Young cubs are often attacked by other animals such as black-backed jackals, hyenas and leopards.
  9. Though the cubs begin hunting at age of 11 months but they continue to live with their mothers for at least two years.

Learn How to draw a Lion with the help of our step-by-step drawing video.

Why do we fall ill?

What does falling ill mean?

Falling ill is an abnormal condition of the body causing great discomfort and malfunctioning or the organs.

When we say we are healthy, that means we are taking care of a few basic requirements needed to keep fit. These are- exercising, eating healthy, washing hands and keeping our body and environment clean, maintaining personal hygiene and having no addictions.

Causes of Illnesses

A person can fall ill due to various factors. The two types of factors are- intrinsic or internal factors and the extrinsic or external factors.

Intrinsic Factors :

The intrinsic factors include malfunctioning of the body. This can be a genetic disorder or hormonal imbalance or allergies.

Extrinsic Factors :

Extrinsic factors include the external environment like pollution, micro organisms or virus in the environment, dust, unhygienic conditions, and personal habits.

Some diseases like chicken pox or cold can be contagious and get transmitted while some don’t. Some diseases are present from birth also.

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

This is the most excited I’ve ever been to visit someplace. I’m at the visitor center of the Kennedy Space Center! That’s right, I’m at NASA!
How do I even begin to talk about this place! It’s a dream come true to be here. There’s so much to do and see that I can barely contain myself! The long list of things to see and do here includes visits to the awesome launch pads, an opportunity to see the actual space shuttle Atlantis, see the Saturn V moon rocket and experience loads of other stuff like simulated space rides, lunch with an astronaut and the amazing NASA game Cosmic Quest. In fact, if you plan your visit right, you may even get to see an actual rocket launch! What more can one ask for?

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

My visit here doesn’t include rocket launch, but that in no way diminished this experience for me. The Kennedy Space Center is huge at 144000 acres and houses around 700 facilities. I’m at the visitor complex, which itself has enough attractions to keep me occupied.

Museums and Space Exhibits

There are museums and space exhibits to explore, with an up-close view of the Atlantis space shuttle, as well as many other interactive exhibit, like the Saturn V exhibit, which is plain awesome! There’s also the Shuttle launch experience which is a definite must for any space –enthusiast, or just anyone who enjoys being amazed really. It offers a simulated experience of how it’s like to be in space! With a launch experience and everything. How cool is that?

You can take the guided bus tour that is included in the daily admission pass. It departs every 15 minutes from the entrance. Or you could set out to explore by yourself. There’s so much to see here that a day is never enough. Even the VIP features here like the Cosmic Quest game, and the Astronaut training experience are worth every dime! What’s more, all of these attractions are funded not by tax-dollars, but by ticket sales, and gifts from private individuals and entities.

Did I mention that I touched a moon rock? I’m seriously considering getting myself a season pass to this place!

You may also like to read Ticket to space

Neil Armstrong Biography

Neil A. Armstrong from Wapakoneta, Ohio, was the first man to create world history by walking on the moon on July 20, 1969.

Early Life and Education

He was born on August 5 in the year 1930. At the age of 16 he earned student pilot’s licence. Neil Armstrong did his Bachelor’s in aeronautical engineering at Purdue University. He availed a U.S. Navy scholarship.

Career

From 1949 to 1952 he served in Korean War as a naval aviator. Later in 1955 he joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). He began his career with the NACA Lewis Research Center in Cleveland. He worked as an engineer, test pilot, astronaut and administrator for the aforesaid organisation and its successor agency named National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Later Life and Death

On January 28, 1956 he married Janet Shearon. He had a son named Eric (born in 1957) and a daughter Karen (born in 1959). Unfortunately he faced lots of turmoil in his personal life. His daughter passed away in January 1962. Armstrong divorced his wife in 1994. Later he married Carol. Rest of his life he spent in Indian Hill located at Ohio. Armstrong passed away at the age of 82 on Aug. 25, 2012.

Achievements & Honours

  • Neil Armstrong was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco.
  • He was a member of the National Commission on Space (1985-1986),
  • He became the Vice-Chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident (1986),
  • He was the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Peace Corps (1971-1973).
  • He received Fellowship of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Royal Aeronautical Society.
  • He became the honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the International Astronautics Federation.
  • He became the Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati (1971-1979)
  • Armstrong became the chairman of Computing Technologies for Aviation, Inc (1982-1992)
  • He received Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • He received Congressional Gold Medal
  • He received Congressional Space Medal of Honor
  • He received Explorers Club Medal
  • He received the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy
  • He received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal
  • He received Harmon International Aviation Trophy
  • He received Royal Geographic Society’s Gold Medal
  • He received Federation Aeronautique Internationale’s Gold Space Medal
  • He received American Astronautical Society Flight Achievement Award
  • He received Robert J. Collier Trophy; the AIAA Astronautics Award
  • He received Octave Chanute Award
  • He received John J. Montgomery Award.

Gurfa

What does “Gurfa” mean?

Isn’t it amazing how in some languages, there’s a single word for a phrase in English. “Gurfa” [pronounced goo-hr-fah] is one such Arabic word. It means the amount of water that can be scooped up in a hand.

Human Feelings and Emotions

Very often we feel so many things, but are unable to express what exactly is happening to us or is bothering us. We do know from our behaviour that we are not our usual self. People around us do realise the same but we don’t know how to handle it as children.

Let us today understand some of these feelings that we experience in our day to day life and help ourselves overcome it.

What are Feelings?

Feelings are something that we feel from within or inside ourselves. Feelings never remain the same for too long, they keep changing. There are different kinds of feelings that we experience. Sometimes we feel happy, sad, worried, lonely and so much more.

Types of Feelings

What happens when we feel some of the above?

What is Sadness?

  • Sadness is a feeling wherein we feel upset and may want to cry. It often makes us feel drained and tired. Even though it is not a very good feeling, it is normal to experience it.
  • When we are sad we may not feel like playing with our friends and wish to be left alone, without being disturbed.
  • We tend to feel sad when we have had a hard day at school, when someone is rude or mean to us, or if we see people around us argue.
  • It is not good to stay sad for too long. When we feel sad we must talk to someone and tell them about it. Never worry or bother what the other is going to think of you.
  • If you don’t wish to tell someone, then you can do something fun and that which you enjoy doing. You will immediately feel the difference and begin to feel happy gain.

What is Shyness?

  • Shyness too is a feeling, where you find it hard to converse with people you don’t know well.
  • When we feel shy we feel like hiding or running away from the person or situation. We may feel hot or may blush.
  • Many people feel shy when they have to perform in front of an audience, make new friends or introduce themselves in a group.
  • Children who feel shy, must try and talk to someone they trust and are close to, in order to help them overcome this feeling. You must make an effort to interact in a group and try and talk to those you are comfortable with. It is absolutely normal to feel shy and many children outgrow this as they grow older.
  • You can help children who feel shy or are new in your neighbourhood or school. Be kind to them, make them comfortable, talk to them, ask them to join you when you play. You will make it easier for them to come out of their shyness.

What is Worry?

  • We worry when we fear something bad is going to happen. Worrying makes us feel sick and uneasy. Sometimes when we worry we feel our heartbeat race and we tend to lose sleep.
  • We worry when we have not finished our assignment for school or if we are moving to a new environment.
  • Worrying is not good as it stops us from thinking logically. We stop enjoying ourselves because we feel worried from within.
  • You can easily identify a family member or friend who is worried from their behaviour. They may lose appetite or snap easily over small and petty issues.
  • If you want to help a person who is worried, the best thing for you to do is be a good listener.

What is Loneliness?

  • This is a very common feeling amongst young and old. When we feel lonely we feel like we have no one around us or that no one wants to be with us.
  • Loneliness often makes you want to cry and you feel sad, bored and angry.
  • When you shift to a new home or school and don’t know the children around you, you may feel lonely for a few days till you settle.
  • Whenever you feel lonely tell an adult. You can ask them to take you out for a walk or a drive. You can join some art or dance class. It is easy to identify a lonely person, they usually look sad or upset and sit all by themselves.
  • You can help a lonely person by inviting them over to play or sitting with them and talking to them.

Types of Water Bodies

We all know how important water is to us. 3/4 of the earth’s surface is covered with water. This water is distributed throughout the planet in various forms and shapes, called the various water bodies. These water bodies differ in size, right from huge ones like oceans and seas to the small ones like ponds. Thus the various water bodies we see on the earth’s surface are in the form of oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, ponds, waterfalls etc.

Different Bodies of Water and their Characteristics

Let us travel the earth and learn about these various water bodies found only on our beautiful planet.

Oceans:

  • The oceans are vast and deep bodies of water. Usually, it is these oceans that separate continents from one another. The oceans are bodies of salt water.
  • We have five oceans in our world. They are the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean, the Southern Ocean or Antarctic Ocean.
  • The largest and deepest ocean in the world is the Pacific ocean, covering one-third of the earth’s surface.
  • This is followed by the Atlantic ocean and the Indian ocean in order of size.
  • Oceans are home to a variety of plants and seaweed and thousands of sea creatures like the sea urchins, whales, sharks, octopus, a variety of fish, snakes, squids etc.
  • In fact, oceans also contain millions of tiny dead animals called coral polyps which form the beautiful coral reefs, Australia being the largest coral reef in the world.
  • Oceans are useful to us in many ways as they are a rich source of minerals, they provide energy and valuable fuels like petroleum.
  • They work as an important channel of transportation.

Seas:

  • Seas are also big water bodies but are definitely smaller than oceans. They are partly enclosed by a land mass and open into the ocean.
  • We see many seas eventually connecting to the oceans. For example we have the Mediterranean Sea which is attached or joins the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Some of the seas are the Red Sea, the Black Sea, the Arabian Sea, Caribbean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The Red and the Black Sea, have got their names because the Red Sea has millions of red tiny plants growing at the bottom and the Black Sea because of the thick black mud that lies at its bottom.
  • Under the seas we find huge plains, high mountains and even deep valleys, interesting isn’t it, that these various landforms are also present under the sea.
  • The largest of the seas is the South China Sea which is supposed be holding hundreds of islands in its waters .
  • The sea, like the oceans is useful to us in many ways.It is a rich source of food providing us with various kinds of sea food.
  • It also works as a channel for transportation.
  • Like oceans, seas are a source of food, and are also usually used extensively as transport lanes for ships.

Lakes:

  • A lake is a water body surrounded by land on all sides. It is actually the opposite of an island, which is a piece of land surrounded by water on all sides.
  • Lakes can be salty or fresh water lakes. Salty lakes are due to a lot of evaporation taking place.
  • Some famous lakes are-Lake Superior, Caspian Sea, Lake Victoria, Lake Aral and the Dal Lake .
  • In fact the Caspian Sea is the world’s largest salt lake, it is so big that it is referred to as sea.
  • Lake Superior is the biggest fresh water lake.
  • The Dead Sea is a salt water lake.
  • It is said that nothing can survive in the Dead Sea because it is very salty.

Rivers:

  • Rivers are large streams that flow over the land. They are hence large flowing water bodies, they usually end up in an ocean or sea.
  • Rivers are fresh water bodies which generally originate in mountainous areas or elevated areas.
  • We have basically two kinds of rivers which are, the Snow-fed rivers and the second is the Rain-fed rivers.
  • Snow-fed rivers find their source in the snow capped mountains, where the snow melts, flowing down forming rivers, rain-fed rivers as the name suggests are formed in areas where it rains a lot giving rise to these rivers.
  • The place where a river starts its journey, is called the source and the place where it ends its journey , is called the mouth of a river.
  • Rivers again are very useful as we have seen in history,that most civilizations were formed near the banks of the rivers, like the Egyptian Civilization on the banks of the River Nile, the Indus Valley Civilization on the banks of the River Indus.
  • This is because the rivers deposit a lot of fertile soil called silt which is excellent for the growing of crops.

Gulf:

  • A gulf is a large area of an ocean or a sea that is partially enclosed by land.

For Example the Gulf of Mexico.

Bay:

  • A bay is a body of water, which is again partially enclosed by land. It is a wide mouth opening of land, where the water is surrounded by land on three sides and is joined to the sea on the fourth side.

For example the Bay of Bengal

Lagoon:

  • A lagoon is a lake separated from the open sea by sand or rocks.
  • Lake Chilika in Orissa, India is an example of a lagoon.

Starait:

  • A strait is a narrow stretch of water which joins two larger water bodies.

For example: Palk Strait joining the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.

Waterfall:

  • Water falling from a height is usually called a waterfall. A waterfall is formed when a river flows over an edge of hard rocks and falls from a great height.
  • Waterfalls make beautiful tourist spots and are helpful in generating hydroelectric power.
  • The Angel falls in South America are the world’s highest waterfall.

Recycling Paper to Save Trees

Paper Recycling Facts

Paper has been the most recycled product since a very long time. For the last 1000 years paper has been made from discarded materials.

Recycling paper has several benefits. It conserves natural resources, saves energy and also reduces the greenhouse effect.

How much paper is recycled each year in the United States?

Almost 80% of the paper mills in the United States used recycled paper. An average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper, which includes not only newspaper but also boxes, junk mail and packaging material.

Paper Recycling Benefits

A 15 year old tree can make almost 700 grocery bags. Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees that can absorb approximately 250 pounds of carbon dioxide.

The limits of Paper Recycling

Paper recycling has its limits. Every time a paper is recycled the fibres become weaker and shorter. So paper can be recycled up to 17 times after which it does need to be discarded.

The Komodo Dragon Facts

Dragons walk the earth. Komodo dragons, that is. Thought to be the source behind the fire-breathing mythical creatures, Komodo dragons are the world’s largest lizards. They’re ancient reptile species with ancestry that dates back more than 100 million years. Unknown to western scientists till 1912, they were discovered by scientists following rumors of large, dragon-like lizards in the lesser Sunda islands. They’re found in a limited range of around 1000 kilometres, encompassing the Komodo National Park and the islands of Flores. The Komodo national park includes the islands – Komodo, Rinca, Gili Montang, Gili Dasami. In fact, Komodo dragons have the smallest home range of any large predator in the world!

Physical Features and Characteristics

Komodo dragons are large, heavy lizards, with toughened skin that protects them from bites and scratches. A full grown adult maybe around 9 ft long and weigh around 70 -90 kg although, captive dragons have been found to be heavier. The heaviest recorded specimen was 10 ft long and weighed 136 kg! They range from black to yellow-gray in color, depending on their location.

Komodo dragons have muscular tails almost as long as their bodies and long, powerful claws. They also have shark-like teeth and long, yellow, forked tongues that are chock full of deadly bacteria.

Komodo dragons also have 60 shark-like teeth that they use to tear apart their victims. Each of these teeth is around 2.5 inch long and are frequently replaced.
Heavy though they are, they’re also incredibly fast and can run at a speed of 11 mph!

Komodo Dragon Habitat

Komodo dragons are interesting creatures, who like hot and humid weather. They sometimes dig burrows to sleep in at night, but they aren’t very territorial about their burrows – they have been known to sleep in burrows dug by other lizards. In fact, some of them even prefer abandoned human dwellings on the islands!
Komodo dragons grow throughout their lifespan, which can be up to 30 years. They have a fairly easy-going lifestyle, with loads of sun-basking and naps thrown in.
Komodo dragons are also cannibalistic, which is why baby dragons quickly scurry off to live in trees, where the adults can’t reach them. They only come down when they’re around 4 years old, by which time they’re around 4 ft long.

What does the Komodo Dragon like to eat?

They are carnivores, and although their primary prey is the Timor deer, they also eat any other meat they get.
Komodo dragons employ ambush tactics for their agile prey, and also use their forked tongues to track their prey. The saliva of Komodo dragons contains over 50 strains of bacteria that makes it a lethal weapon in itself. They use it to weaken prey that is too strong for a dragon to overpower in direct combat. Quite often, a dragon marks its prey with its saliva, and calmly tracks it, while waiting for it to die.

The younger dragons while living on trees eat whatever fits into their mouth, such as grasshoppers, birds, and other lizards.

Are Komodo Dragons endangered?

The population of Komodo dragons has been more or less stable on the islands, that is around 3000-5000. However, in recent times, illegal hunting and poaching, human encroachment and natural disasters have driven the species to endangerment.

Komodo Dragon Fact

It is thought that the legend of fire-breathing dragons was inspired by the forked yellow tongues of the Komodo dragons.

Animals in Space Facts

In the early days of rocket science, the scientists were clueless about the effects of the space environment on humans. So, they had to send animals into space to test the safety and viability of launching humans into space and bringing them back unharmed.

10 Animal Astronauts in Space

Let us learn about some animals that have got the honour of being astronauts.

1. Fruit flies

On February 20, 1947, the United States sent some fruit flies into space to study radiation exposure at high altitudes.

2. Dogs

Laika, a stray Russian stray dog, went to space on November 3, 1957. Soviet scientists assumed that a stray dog would have already learned to endure harsh conditions of hunger and cold temperatures.

3. Monkeys

Albert I was the first monkey astronaut to be launched into space. He left for his historical space trip from a NASA space station in New Mexico on June 11, 1948. After Albert I, three more of his cousins—Albert II, III and IV—also got a chance to visit space in the following year. Gordo, a squirrel monkey, orbited the Earth in the year 1958 and Able, a Rhesus monkey, set out on his journey into the stars on May 28, 1959.

4. Cats

It was not only the Russians and the Americans that were sending animals into space; in the 1960s, the French scientists were also planning to send a stray cat called Felix into space. But, perhaps Felix got cold feet on hearing about her impending trip to space and ran away from the space station. So, another cat called Felicette was trained to go into space and was launched on October 18, 1963 to orbit the Earth. She was the first kitty in the cosmos.

4. Spiders

The United States sent a European garden spider couple named Arabella and Anita to visit the space on July 28, 1973. The scientists wanted to study the effect of being in the Earth’s orbit on their web-spinning abilities.

5. Bull frogs

In 1970, NASA sent some bull frogs to space to collect information about the effects of weightlessness on the brain.

6. Rats

Some rats have also had the privilege of getting decorated as astronauts. Hector, the rat, was launched in the 1960s by France. Albino rats were a popular choice for space travel in the 1980s.

7. Tortoises

The first tortoises to holiday in the space were a pair of Russian tortoises that were launched in 1968.

8. Rabbits

The first rabbit in space was Marfusha, a Russian rabbit, who went into space with two of her canine in-flight companions. These animals left for their space mission on July 2, 1959.

9. Newts

In 1985, the USSR launched some newts with amputated forelimbs into space to study the process of regeneration. Newts are amphibians that belong to the salamander family and closely resemble lizards. They have the unique ability to re-generate their limbs, if severed accidentally.

10. Chimpanzees

The first chimp in space was Ham, who was launched on January 31, 1961, riding an American Mercury capsule.
Many more animals like fish, jelly fish, guinea pigs, wasps, beetles and cockroaches have also been sent into space for studying the effects of the space environment on these organisms. Without these organisms, it would have been really difficult to find out what is it like to go into space and make the space flights safer for humankind. These animals are truly the unsung heroes and heroines of the space programs.

Hand in the Desert

Look behind me, and behold a giant hand that stretches out from the ground itself! I’m at the Atacama Desert in Chile, and this is unbelievably cool.

Atacama Desert in Chile

Along the deserted Pan-American Highway, the monotony of the drive is instantly shattered on the appearance of this 11 meter hand protruding out of the sand. I was unaware of the existence of this monument, and my fellow travelers kept it that way. The result was total surprise and I took my time wondering about the origin of this seemingly alien yet human-looking hand that seemed to be coming out the sand.

Chilean sculptor Mario Irarrázabal

After they had their fun at my bewildered expressions, my fellow travelers told me that this monument is a work of the Chilean sculptor Mario Irarrázabal (try getting that right on the first try). It was built in the 1980s and was financed by a local organization. I wondered what gave him the idea for such a sculpture and was told that the motion of hands rising from the ground is an obsession of his. In fact, they told me, there’s another giant-hand monument, called Monument to the Drowned, also by the same artist.

Mano del Desierto

The monument, though bizarre, is the artist’s way of expressing loneliness, sorrow and the gross injustice and human rights that Chileans faced in the past. Its exaggerated size also conveys human helplessness and vulnerability. Even its location is a take on the feelings of isolation and despair.

Looking back, this is one of the strangest and yet thought-provoking statues I’ve ever seen. Not to mention that it nicely breaks the monotony of a desert drive.

Where do Phobias come from?

What are Phobias?

A phobia is an irrational fear, a kind of anxiety disorder in which the individual has a relentless dread of a situation, living creature, place or thing. Individuals with a phobia go to great lengths to avoid a perceived danger which is much greater in their minds than in real life.

Causes of Phobias

Around 10 per cent of the population suffer from phobias. Some may be triggered by a traumatic event while others are linked to physical problems. Studies suggest that simple phobias are partly genetic while others may be due to cultural history.

For example, a fear of spiders may be passed down from the Middle Ages when spiders were associated with the plague, as victims’ deserted homes became shrouded in cobwebs.

What is Phobia in Psychology?

We are inundated with information these days. Some of it is really important and helpful and some of it is honestly just ridiculous and misinformed. Since the media often uses fear to grab attention, many people are often unnecessarily afraid. You can have no contact at all with an object or situation, but repeated cautions and warnings can cause fear.

For example, a younger child who watched a YouTube video of someone being attacked by a dog became phobic of all dogs.

Read more about Different Types of Phobias.

Hemispheres of the Earth

How would you react if someone tells you that his birthday falls in the month of December during the nice and warm summers? You would think that either he is quite at sea in Geography subject and does not know anything about the seasons, or is just lying blatantly. Before jumping to any conclusion, ask him where he lives! Such a ‘miracle’ is experienced in real life by those who live in the southern hemisphere of the Earth, for example, in Australia. Now the question arises—what is a hemisphere?

What is a Hemisphere?

‘Hemi’ means ‘half’ in Greek language and ‘sphere’ means ‘a round object’. Hemisphere, thus, means half of the Earth that is spherical in shape. Geographers have divided the Earth into four distinct hemispheres—Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern—each representing one half of the Earth.

How many Hemispheres does the Earth have?

Geographers divide the Earth into the North and South Hemispheres separated by the equator, and into the East and West Hemispheres separated by the Greenwich Meridian. But, these four regions are not clearly demarcated from each other and also overlap sometimes. So, for the ease of studying, the Earth is divided into only two distinct and non-overlapping hemispheres: the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.

Northern Hemisphere

The Northern Hemisphere comprises of all of North America, northern parts of South America, around two-thirds of Africa, all of Asia except some parts of Indonesia, and all of Europe.

Southern Hemisphere

The Southern Hemisphere comprises of most of South America, one-third of Africa, some parts of Indonesia, all of Antarctica and all of Australia/Oceania.

Why is the climate in both the Hemispheres different?

The climate of the Northern Hemisphere is different from that of the Southern Hemisphere because of the Earth’s seasonal tilt towards and away from the sun. All of you know that the Earth is slightly tilted on its axis, and depending on the time of the year, one of the hemispheres is tilted toward the Sun, while the other half is, obviously, tilted away from the Sun. And thus, when one hemisphere experiences the cold conditions of the winter season, the other hemisphere experiences the warm conditions of summers.

4 Interesting Facts about Hemispheres

  1. The Northern Hemisphere is made up of 90% land, and contains most of the human population.
  2. The Southern Hemisphere is made up of 90% water and is rather uninhabitable.
  3. Though the two hemispheres differ drastically in climate, they have one thing in common—the sun rises in the East and sets in the West in both hemispheres.
  4. The Northern Hemisphere is ideal for deep-space observation. Due to the clarity of the sky, the stars are far more visible and seem much brighter.

To know a few more interesting facts about the planet Earth, visit: https://mocomi.com/interesting-facts-about-earth/

Torschlusspanik

What does “Torschlusspanik” mean?

We all have a to-do list of the things we want to do in our life. But life happens and we don’t always get around to marking them done. If you ever find yourself stressing about not having achieved those things on your list and worrying that you may not ever get a chance to do so, you’re experiencing Torschlusspanik, (pronounced Twah-shl-ook-paah-nik), which refers to gate closing panic. Torschlusspanik means the dear of diminishing opportunities that one can act upon as one ages. If you find yourself feeling that way, take a deep breath and remember that as long as you’re willing, anything is possible.

Common Cold Facts – Causes & Prevention

Once, a man in a small village caught common cold. He went to consult the village doctor. The cunning village doctor just wanted to sell his medicines, so he told the innocent man, “I have the cure for your cold. If you take my medicines, you will get cured in just seven days. However, if you don’t, it may take a week for you to become well again.” The gullible man purchased a whole lot of medicines from him and was thus totally befooled by the scheming doctor. The fact is there is no cure for the common cold as of date!

What is Common Cold?

The common cold is a viral disease which infects the lining within your nose. It is the most common illness on the planet, and the worst part about it is that: Nothing cures it! Over the years, many remedies have been touted as possible cures for the common cold, but all they do is offer temporary relief.

Can we cure Common Cold?

Till date a huge amount of money has been invested in the research for finding an effective cough and cold medications, but there is no headway as yet. So, what could be the reason? May be because the illness is relatively harmless, mild and self-limiting, meaning whether you do anything to cure it or not, it will go away on its own in about a week’s time. The other reason and more important reason is that there are literally more than 200 different viruses that cause cold. It is not possible for our scientists to develop a vaccine or medication to kill one or even a few of these viruses, as it just would not be enough!

There are many a medicines in the world that are touted as the “cure” for the common cold, few of them being Vitamin C, zinc and Echinacea. But, the recent studies have shown this is just wishful thinking!

However, there are certain things that you can do to feel better if you ever catch a cold. You can have hot tea with ginger, do gargles, and have hot chicken or garlic soup to get some respite from the cold. Taking hot water bath and steam will also help in reducing the nasal congestion.

How to keep a Cold at bay?

If you really hate getting sick, here are some quick pointers for you to keep this ‘invincible’ (as on date) viral disease at bay:-

  • Wash your hands for at least 30-40 seconds with warm water and soap to get rid of the invading germs. This is the most important step to preventing the spread of disease and staying healthy. You can also use an alcohol-based hand rub (hand-sanitizer) that is easily available in the market, to kill germs.
  • Eating a well-balanced diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables, getting regular exercise will strengthen your immune system so you will be less likely to get sick.
  • Drink plenty of water. Proper hydration is vital for a strong immune system and will help you feel better as well.
  • Common cold is a contagious (infectious) disease. So, you must stay away from the people suffering from cold and cough.
  • Do not touch your eyes and nose frequently to avoid infecting yourself with germs that you may have picked up from your surroundings.
  • If despite of taking all the above mentioned precautions, if you have somehow gotten infected, please do not inflict one’s cold on others! Cover ones nose and mouth with a tissue or handkerchief when coughing or sneezing, and then wash your hands. Avoid shaking hands with people.

So what if it is not possible to cure the common cold, we can certainly keep it at bay by taking these simple precautions. It is after all, prevention is always better than cure!

For more such biology articles and videos, visit: https://mocomi.com/learn/science/biology/

Here come the Rains!

Yes… finally the monsoons have arrived! A time to go play in the puddles, dance in the rain and make paper boats. But we do have to take care of a few little things in order to stay healthy. This is the season when diseases like malaria and dengue spread wide amidst typhoid, vomiting and cholera. Remember to add a few drops of antiseptic to your bath water. Keep your rooms dry and clean. Do not turn on the Air Conditioner during a rainy day. Keep doors and windows closed during the evening to keep mosquitoes at bay. Always wash your feet with antiseptic added water when you return home from playing or walking in the rains.

Read here What is the monsoon season in India?

What is Rain Harvesting?

Rain Harvesting is a process of collecting and storing rain water using different technologies. Systematic collection and recharging of ground water has become a feasible and easy way to check hydrological imbalance and to meet the water requirement during crisis period.

How does Rainwater Harvesting work?

Rain is harvested by collecting run-off from rooftops, local catchments, capturing seasonal flood water from streams and conserving water through watershed management. The collected water is stored in soil or man made dams, tanks and containers.

Types of Rainwater Harvesting System

Rain harvesting is of two types namely, in situ and ex situ harvesting. During heavy rainfall the undeveloped lands has the capacity to hold certain amount of rainwater in soil (in situ harvesting). The excess water gradually drains away in rivers or streams. In developed areas where rain falls on roofs of houses, concrete and tarmacs, water drains away straight into rivers. The water level rises and flood occurs. In these areas rain has to be collected in containers (ex situ harvesting) to avoid flood.

Why harvest Rainwater?

Rain harvesting offers a reliable source of clean drinking if maintenance measures are followed properly. It has been found that less than three percent of freshwater is stored as ground water in the world’s aquifers. The total renewable water resources of India are about 1,897 sq. km/annum. It has been said that by 2025 a large part of India would face water crisis.

Benefits of Rain Harvesting

Ecosystem offers provisioning, regulating, cultural and supporting services. Rain harvesting benefits all of them in several ways. It helps to increase crop productivity and food supply; water and fodder for livestock and poultry; rainfall infiltration; and improves biodiversity.

Apart preventing floods and supplying water during droughts, it reduces soil erosion. It also supports spiritual, religious and aesthetic values and helps to flow support nutrients including water purification in landscape.

Why does water crisis takes place? Do we harvest rain in India?

Water crisis occurs due to the unavailability of sufficient amount of portable and unpolluted water in a particular region. In India, rain harvesting began long ago in states such as Rajasthan and Gujarat. It has now gained importance in other parts of the country. It is common in Shillong, Meghalaya, Chennai, Bangalore and Kerala.

Stressed Octopus Eats Itself!

Biologists believe that this autophagy in octopuses is a sort of a disease that makes them behave in such a manner.

Why does an Octopus eat itself?

They researched that such behaviour takes place when an octopus is extremely hungry. Not only that, some octopuses ate themselves because they were stressed due to being in captivity. A stressed animal is most prone to infections. A bacterium that manages to take hold of the octopuses mind when stressed causes this act of horror.

Once such behaviour starts, it is difficult to stop. It even spreads to any other octopus that comes in contact with the one who has eaten its own limb!

The octopus eats itself in a horrible way and then within a few days it dies, succumbing to injuries caused by it. This happens to a captive octopus. But usually an octopus that is not in captivity and had eaten a limb can regrow a fresh new limb. Most probably in captive situations, the water gets infected which causes the death.

Get to know everything about the World Octopus Wrestling Championships.

Monsoon in India

Indian Monsoon Season

India receives monsoon rain in two cycles. One directly after the summer that ends in early September and then a second cycle that blows south from northern India. It is caused by a reverse of the weather conditions that bring the southwest monsoons. It is also named after its point of origin, which is the northeast of the Indian subcontinent.

What is a Northeast Monsoon?

  • By the month of September the land begins to rapidly cool off as the sun moves into the southern hemisphere.
  • Since the Indian Ocean is the last to get heated during this retreat, the high pressure created from the rapidly cooling land causes winds to blow southwards.
  • Cold winds from the Indo-Gangetic plain sweep to the south of the Deccan plateau, once again picking up moisture off the Bay of Bengal and delivering rains to the Eastern Ghats along the Kanyakumari and Coromandel coasts.
  • This is also known as the retreating monsoons.
  • For many millennia Arab merchants have relied on the cycle of the monsoons to trade with India.
  • They would ride the trade-winds ahead of the southwest monsoons bringing their precious cargo during the summer months and return with fresh finds from Indian kingdoms, using the northeast monsoon winds to take them back home.
  • It is no wonder that the word ‘monsoon’ comes from the Arabic word ‘mausim’, meaning season.

Project for Kids

Find yourself an outline map of India and mark on it the regions that are affected by the northeast monsoons. These are: The Kanyakumari and Coromandal coasts of the Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It includes Sri Lanka and the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

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Duck-Billed Platypus

Im stuck in the middle of a forest but check it out! I found an animal that lays eggs but strangely is also a mammal, Strange right?

The Platypus (Ornithorhynchus Anatinus)

Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), also known as the duck-billed platypus, is a semiaquatic egg-laying mammal endemic to eastern Australia. The platypus is one of the most unusual creatures in the animal kingdom.

Physical Characteristics of Platypus

A typical platypus is 15 inches (38 centimeters) from its head to the end of its rump. Its tail adds an additional 5 inches (13 cm) to the animal’s length. Platypuses (which is the correct plural form, not “platypi”) have a paddle-shaped tail like a beaver; a sleek, furry body like an otter; and a flat bill and webbed feet like a duck.

Platypus Facts

  1. The first time a platypus was brought from Australia to Britain, people couldn’t believe that it was a real animal. They thought that a trickster had sewn two animals together.
  2. The coolest thing though is that the platypus is venomous! It has a small spur at the end of its foot that shoots out the venom.

Why do we die?

We die because certain parts in our body fail to work properly and our genes and cells start degrading.

Are we programmed to die?

Our chromosomes have a telomere region inside them. It protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration. This Telomere contains our genetic information. Cells multiply from one another, they get divided and when this happens the information contained in the telomere gets cut or sliced with each cell division. They keep getting trimmed and after a certain amount of time, years of growing up, this information in a cell is lost. Thus cells get old and stop functioning one by one.

Effects of Aging on the Body

Not only cells, each body part starts getting old with age. The heart begins to wear out after a couple of beats, joints start to creak, skin begins to flake, the brain shrinks with age, the spine curves, eyes and ears start to wear out and bones begin to crumble. All this effects out total health and humans can catch serious problems and diseases. But these days with an increase in scientific technology the lifespan of humans can be seen to age at a slow pace. Scientists believe that humans will also be able to live up till 140 years of age!

Ice Cream Facts and History

I scream…you scream…we all scream for Ice Cream!

Yes, Ice creams have been a favourite among people of all age groups. Have you ever wondered where did ice creams come from or who discovered this delicious treat?

Ice cream is a sweet snack or a desert made from dairy products. It is often combined with fruits or has different flavours. It can be eaten with or without syrup or biscuits. Yummy!

How was Ice Cream invented?

Ice Cream Evolution in Ancient Greece

But before we had milk based ice creams in the world, ice creams were introduced in the 10th century and were made of pure ice. Way before that, during the 5th century in ancient Greece; people ate ice mixed with honey and fruits. Alexander the great enjoyed snow flavoured with honey and nectar!

Ice Cream Evolution in China

In 200 BC a frozen mix of milk and rice was introduced in China and had as ice creams.

Ice Cream Evolution in Asia

In Asia it was in the sixteenth century that the Mughal Emperors used to run their horses to bring fruit sorbets from Delhi. Until the 1800’s ice cream remained a delicacy enjoyed only by the rich.

Ice Cream Evolution in United States

The production of ice cream from dairy products began in 1851 in Boston, United States. America produced ice creams to send it to their troops during the World War II. It was the perfect summer treat and was readily accepted worldwide.

Technological advances made more ice cream production and flavours possible. Today the total frozen dairy production only in the United States is more than 1.6 billion gallons a year! Not only that the flavours of ice cream ranges to thousands. You name a flavour and you have an ice cream for it. From all fruit flavoured ice creams today you even get green tea flavour ice creams. Most favourite flavours are vanilla, chocolate, choco chip, raspberry, strawberry, butterscotch, coffee, mint, rainbow sprinkles ice cream etc.

4 Interesting Facts about Ice cream

  1. Ice cream cones were invented in 1904 in World fair in St. Louis. There was a huge demand for ice creams and the vendors had to rush to nearby waffle stands to get help. Thus, together they made ice creams in cones and it still continues.
  2. There is also a hot dog flavoured ice cream, created in Arizona, US. Most unusual!
  3. Sunday is the most profitable day for ice cream sellers.
  4. Chocolate syrup is the most favourite ice cream topping!

Illicit

What does “Illicit” mean?

We all know that giving or accepting bribes, or having extramarital relations is wrong. Another word for these acts which are ethically, morally and legally wrong is illicit. Pronounced [il-lis-sit], Illicit is a word of French / Latin origin which refers to those acts that are not permitted by law or general customs. Sometimes illicit acts aren’t outright illegal, but they’re amoral and should be avoided all the same.

Discovery of Smallpox Vaccine

Who discovered Smallpox Vaccine?

The smallpox vaccine was discovered by an English scientist Edward Anthony Jenner from Berkeley, Gloucestershire. Jenner was born in England on the 17th of May 1749.
The disease smallpox created misery as it was fatal and there was no cure for it. It is thanks to Edward Jenner that we are able to live today without the fear of this disease which has been eradicated.

Where did the Smallpox come from?

How this disease came about has been lost in the prehistoric period but it said to have appeared around 10,000BC. It is said to have spread into India through Egyptian merchants. Skin lesions resembling smallpox have been found on Egyptian mummies.

Smallpox was known to have affected all levels of society and a large number of people lost their lives to this fatal disease.

How did Edward Jenner find the Vaccine for Smallpox?

Jenner had heard that milkmaids were protected from the disease smallpox after having suffered cowpox which was prevalent then. He thus concluded that cowpox could help stop the spread of smallpox.

He used matter from the lesions of a maid suffering from cowpox and inoculated an 8 yr old boy. The boy developed mild fever and some discomfort. Nine days later he felt cold, lost appetite but improved and became much better the following day. Two months later Jenner inoculated the boy again from a fresh smallpox lesion but the boy did not develop the disease.

He communicated his observations to the Royal Society which rejected them. He then published a small booklet privately and called his new procedure vaccination.

Jenner’s vaccination received public acknowledgement in 1802 with the British Parliament granting him sums of money. He received many honours but was subjected to ridicule as well. This did not deter him from working with his vaccination programme. His was the first scientific attempt using vaccination to control an infectious disease.

First person to Vaccinate against Smallpox

Benjamin Jesty is being considered as the first person to vaccinate against smallpox. Jenner they say was not the first to vaccinate but gave the vaccination its scientific recognition. Jesty to protect his family from smallpox used material from the udders of cattle that he knew had cowpox and transferred the material into his wife’s arm.

Click here to know more about What is a vaccination and how does it work.

Fastest Goal Ever!

Fastest Goal in the Football History

It was a Saudi domestic game and the FIFA confirmed that it was the fastest goal ever made in the history of football.

The official log of this goal was just two seconds. This surprised the opposition goal keeper as well as the camera person who could only catch the ball once inside the net.

Who scored the Fastest Goal in the world?

Saudi Arabian football player Nawad Al Abed spotted the opposition goal keeper just off the goal line. It was quick thinking on his part and intelligence that he took a shot direct from the centre circle. The ball ended up in the net at just 2.4 seconds and gave Al Hilal a 4-0 victory.

Though it is Danish international, Nicklas Bendtner who technically holds the record for the fastest goal at 1.8 seconds in the Premiere League.

You may also be like interested in reading FIFA World Cup Facts.

Dead Sea Facts and Information

What is the Dead Sea?

The Dead Sea is not a sea but a saltwater lake! Yes, the Dead Sea is the second saltiest water body in the world with a salt content of 33% as compared to 2 or 3% of the other Seas around the world.

Why is the Dead Sea so salty?

Ever wondered why the Dead Sea is so salty? There are no rivers originating from the Dead Sea. All the rivers and streams from nearby mountains come and drain in the Dead Sea but there is no outlet. Thus the only source of reduction is evaporation and salt does not evaporate, so it is left behind. The rate at which water evaporates from the Dead Sea is much higher than the rate at which it is replenished by rains.

Where is the Dead Sea?

The Dead Sea borders Israel, the West Bank and Jordan. The Dead Sea has a heavy and dense salt content that animals and marine life cannot flourish in it. There is no marine life and no fish in the Dead Sea. So, even birds who feast on fish do not come near the sea. Larger animals that prey on birds also do not come here. Because the Dead Sea environment is so harsh for animals and any fish that accidently come here from the streams, die- thus it is known as the Dead Sea!

How was Dead Sea formed?

The Dead Sea is almost 3 million years old! At that time a rift formed between two tectonic plates that spread apart. This made the earth crust to spread apart and to become thinner and thinner. This created a rift valley and the Dead Sea was created right along this valley. Where the earth’s surface became thin that part sunk downwards and is still sinking, almost 13 inches per year!

3 Interesting Dead Sea Facts

  1. You can actually float on the Dead Sea like a cork floats on water. This is because of its heavy salt content that makes the water so dense. It is deadly because if one is swimming face down it will be difficult for one to use their feet and roll over, making one drown. Another reason to name it Dead Sea?
  2. The Dead Sea salt is extremely bitter in taste
  3. The Dead Sea Salt is filled with minerals like calcium, iodine, saline, potassium and bromide- all which are found in a human body.

How do Solar Panels work?

Powering spacecrafts and calculators alike, solar panels are the ultimate solution to our power problems. Energy from the sun harnessed. What more could we ask for? And yet, even though we have within our reach a power source seemingly inexhaustible, it’s not what powers our homes.

Have you wondered why? And how does this work in the first place? What allows us to harness the sun’s power? Let’s find out.

What are Solar Panels?

Solar panels are nothing but a huge cluster of solar cells arranged systematically. The magic of generating electricity happens within these solar cells, also called photovoltaic cells. (Photovoltaic refers to the property of being able to convert light into electricity). Solar cells allow light to knock off electrons from their atoms, thereby generating electricity. That was the short version. Here’s a more detailed explanation-

How do Solar Panels produce Electricity?

Solar cells are sandwiches of conductive and semi-conductive materials. Most solar cells are made up of silicon, a semi-conductor. Thus, in a solar cell, semi-conductive silicon is sandwiched between conductive materials.

In its neutral state, each silicon atom is connected to its neighbors by 4 strong bonds, so no current flows. A solar cell uses two different types of silicon, called the N and P types respectively.

An N-type cell has free electrons, and a P-type cell has free holes (for the electrons to fit into).

When sunlight hits the solar panel, the electrons from the N-type cell are knocked out and are free to move around. Similarly, on the P-side, the light energy creates more holes. The free electrons move towards the N-type cells, whereas the holes accumulate towards the P-side.

Solar cells are designed such that the free electrons move in the only direction available, i.e. from the N-side. They pass through conductive filament, thereby generating electricity. After passing through the conductive filament, they return to the free holes from the P-side. Thus, the cell returns to the neutral state. Since there’s no permanent change in the cell, the cell has a very long shelf life.

Each cell only creates around ½ V of electricity, and hence, cells are strung together to make panels and generate a greater amount of electricity. Which is why a house powered by solar energy might need a solar panel spanning the entire rooftop. The electricity generated by solar cells is stored in batteries for later use.

Although we currently do not have cost-efficient technology to replace conventional power sources, if we do figure out, it would effectively solve all our power problems, at least into the foreseeable future.

Do you know What is Electricity? and Who discovered Electricity? Let’s find out!

Why Dogs Bark at Cars?

Theories that explain why dogs bark and chase cars

  • Dogs will chase anything that runs away from them. It is an inborn instinct. That is why people say ‘when you see a dog; do not run away from them’.
  • Dogs come from the family of wolves and coyotes’. Though dogs are not as wild or harmful, they have the same instinct of hunting down a prey. Chasing is a natural hunting behaviour inbuilt in dogs. That is why dogs also chase balls or squirrels.
  • Some dogs mark their territories by peeing on car tyres for a sense of recognition of other dogs in that area. So if a new car enters the area, dogs smell a different scent and feel someone else is entering their territory.
  • Not every dog runs behind cars. Next time you are in a car and a dog is chasing you, stop and see what he does. Most probably he will lose interest once you stop.

Narwhals : Unicorns of the Sea

Woah the Arctic is really cold! But its gonna be worth it to see one of these rare creatures called Narwhals. Often dubbed the unicorns of the sea, narwhals are strange and beautiful creatures with long tusks protruding from their heads.

How big is a Narwhal?

They can weigh up to 4,200 pounds and they grow between 4 and 6 m (12-20 ft.) in length – a similar size to their relative, the beluga whale.

Physical Features of Narwhals

But they are easily distinguished from their beluga kin. Male narwhals possess a great spiraled tooth that projects from their heads. The long, hornlike tooth can reach up to 3 m (10 ft.) in length and grows continually to replace wear. Researchers are unsure of the exact purpose of the tooth. Some believe it serves as an attractive ornament for mating, while others believe it is used as a weapon to fight rivals. One researcher concluded that the tooth has the ability to detect changes in water temperature and pressure. They can weigh up to 4,200 pounds and grow as long as 17 feet in length.

Its name is derived from the Old Norse word nár, meaning “corpse”, in reference to the animal’s greyish, mottled pigmentation, like that of a drowned sailor.

What color are Narwhals?

Narwhals can change their colour as they age. Newborns are a blue-gray, juveniles are blue-black and adults are a mottled gray. Old narwhals are nearly all white.

Sadly with only 80,000 Narwhals left, they qualify as a ‘Near threatened’ species.

How deep do Narwhals dive?

The male narwhals occasionally dive up to 1,500 m (4,900 ft) in depth, with dives lasting up to 25 minutes.

More amazing Narwhal Whale Facts here.

Thalassophile

What does “Thalassophile” mean?

Does a day at the beach sound like paradise to you? If so, you’re a thalassophile! Pronounced [thal-uh-suh-fahyl], Thalassophile refers to a person who loves the seas and the oceans. These are people who like nothing better than to kick off their shoes and sink their toes in the sand, may be take a dip in salty blue waters! Do you know any thalassophiles around you?

History of Toys and Games

Toys and games changed little through the centuries. But while the children in earlier times had to make do with simple toys like wooden dolls, toy soldiers, wooden animals with wheels, balls, marbles, spinning tops, today there is no scarcity of toys and games available for you in the market.

Popular Toys and Games from the Past

Here is how some of the most popular toys and games for children were invented:

1. Jigsaw Puzzles

John Spilsbury, a British mapmaker, made the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767. Actually, he was trying to teach his students geography by cutting maps into pieces. People found Spilsbury’s idea pretty interesting and started making jigsaws for the entertainment of children.

2. Play-Doh

Play-Doh was invented by Noah McVicker, a soap manufacturer based in Cincinnati, as a cleaning product for removing coal dust from the walls.

3. Meccano

In 1900, Frank Hornby invented the toy construction system ‘Meccano’ to teach his kids the basics of mechanics. Meccano was earlier known as ‘Mechanics made easy’.

4. Slinky

Slinky was invented by a Naval engineer called Richard James. One day, he accidentally knocked a spring off a shelf. To the amusement of James, the spring did what a toy slinky does—it hopped from a stack of books to the table, from the table to the floor, and from the floor it lodged itself into a cylinder. James knew that it would make a great toy for kids one day, and he was right!

5. Rubik’s Cube

Rubik’s cube was the brainchild of Ernő Rubik, an architect. Rubik had originally developed the cube to help his students understand the concept of 3D objects.

6. Laser Guns

In the 1970s, the US Armed Forces developed a special training program for soldiers to practice firing. The soldiers were asked to use laser lights to hit the targets. The laser lights carried no risk to the soldiers’ lives and saved the cost of live rounds as well. This technology was later used to develop the recreational game of laser tagging for kids.

7. Barbie

The Barbie doll was designed by a woman named Ruth Handler in the 1950s. Ruth named the doll ‘Barbie’ after her daughter, Barbara. It was first introduced at a toy fair in New York on March 9, 1959. This day is celebrated as Barbie’s birthday all over the world.

8. Scrabble

Scrabble was invented by an American architect, Alfred Butts, in 1933 while toying around with a word game in his idle time. Scrabble was earlier known by many names such as Lexico, New Anagrams, Alph and Criss-Crosswords.

9. Monopoly

The game of Monopoly was discovered in 1934 by Charles Darrow, an unemployed youth from Pennsylvania. He liked his invention so much that despite a financial crunch, he produced the game himself and sold over 5,000 handmade sets to a Philadelphia toy store. As Darrow had rightly anticipated, his game quickly became a big craze among children as well as adults.

10. Chota Bheem Toys

Chhota Bheem is an Indian cartoon series for kids that was created by Rajiv Chilaka the CEO of Green Gold Animation. Since its launch in 2009, the character of Chhota Bheem has endeared himself to kids and teenagers alike. Looking at the tremendous success of the series, the producers decided to launch a wide variety of toys, games, books, puzzles and surprise bags based on it.

Do Not Forget Your Berries!

If someone offered you a pill that helped you feel full, lose weight, and prevent disease, you’d take it, right? And what if it tasted great, too? Fortunately, you don’t have to go to your doctor for that kind of prescription.

Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries contain plant nutrients known as anthocyanidins, which are powerful antioxidants. Blueberries rival grapes in concentrations of resveratrol. In no specific order, these are berries that are extremely high health benefits:
Goji Berries. …
Blueberries. …
Acai Berries. …
Bilberries. …
Strawberries. …
Blackberries. …
Cherries.

Function of the Liver and Pancreas

What is Liver?

What is the largest and most vital organ in your body, and which grows to the size of a football when you become big like your parents? It is the liver. You can feel it below your rib cage. The liver you eat in restaurants tastes yucky, but your liver is very important for you and we will learn about its critical functions.

Function of the Liver

The liver purifies your body of its impurities and sanitizes your blood. Just like you wash your car to cleanse it of all the brown dirt particles that stick to the surface and tires; your liver acts like a cleaning manager and extracts the waste products that are later flushed out of your body.

When you eat milk products and meaty products like bacon, you consume fat. Fat is beneficial for building nerve tissues for the brain and acts as a gasoline to keep your body active. Fats also aid in absorbing important vitamins like A, D and E. The liver knows the fat is essential for the body; so it produces the liquid called bile which helps in soaking up fat into the blood. Fat is yellowish green in color and is stored in the gall bladder till the body needs it.

How about when you greedily eat a bowl full of delicious macaroni pasta mixed with herbs, mozzarella cheese and tomatoes? Your body consumes carbohydrates (laden with rich vitamins and minerals) which contains sugar (glucose) needed by the important and hard working cells, to make fuel for your body. The liver again stores these in the form of glycogen and disposes them as and when needed. The liver knows how busy you are with your badminton tournament and cannot eat all the time. So it acts as a sturdy and dependable storage bin.

And lastly our dear liver is helping us digest the medicines we take when our head throbs.

What is the Pancreas?

There is another yellow and spongy organ in our body; hiding behind our bulgy stomach; that aids is digesting food. This is called the pancreas and is shaped like a fish. Our deeply engrossed functioning cells have chemical reactions taking place within them.

Function of the Pancreas

The proteins (who help) inside the cells are called enzymes. They form amino acid chains in assorted shapes to conduct a multiplicity of specific functions. Now who manufactures these enzymes? The pancreas does it. Now these three dimensional proteins are very stubborn and naughty. They not only foster strong brotherhood by holding hands tightly, but breaking them down is also very complicated. Our stomach tries to help by producing an acid, but it is the pancreatic juices that ultimately help in breaking down these protein bonds. The protein bonds are also like savage crows who want to eat everything. The pancreas stops them from eating the ducts. The pancreas also helps in breaking down fats and carbohydrates. These functions are called the exocrine functions of the pancreas.

When you feel dizzy, your body craves for sugar needed for body fuel. The pancreas releases glucagon which frees the stored sugar. There are times when your body has too much sugar floating around. The pancreas then emits outs insulin (from its pancreatic cells called Islets of Langerhans) which asks the body to utilize the sugar and store the excess. These are scientifically called endocrine functions of the pancreas.

3 Fun Facts about Liver and Pancreas

  1. The word pancreas comes from the Greek word “pancreas”, which means only meat. Sweetbread is a flavorful dish prepared from the pancreas of lamb.
  2. The pancreas craves for sweets only.
  3. Human liver is the organ that produced blood in your body at first.

How do we see Color?

How do you know if a banana is raw, ripe or rotten? Well, you could obviously take a bite and tell, but most of the times, you can tell just by looking. Especially if we’re talking about rotten bananas. A raw banana would look green, a ripe one would be yellow and a rotten one is most likely blackened. Have you wondered how we know the difference between these different colors? Let’s find out.

What are Colors?

All the colors we perceive are an effect of light. The seemingly colorless sunlight actually contains all the colors we can see, but at different wavelengths. In fact, color itself, is light of a particular wavelength, reflected.

When sunlight falls on an object, the surface of the object absorbs some of the light and reflects the rest of it. Which wavelengths of light are reflected or absorbed depends on the properties of the object.

So say the object is a ripe banana, it would absorb all the wavelengths of light except the ones that correspond to the color yellow. And we would thus see that a banana is yellow. This property of the object changes as the object changes, which is why a raw banana would look green, and a rotting banana would appear blackish.

Why do we see different Colors?

How do we know which color is which, i.e. how does our brain know the difference between these colors?

We have a tiny area called the fovea centralis all the way at the back of our eyes that is responsible for us seeing color. This area has millions of light receptors called cones and rods which react to light and tell our brains what colors we see. The cones in our eyes are active in light-rich environments and respond most strongly to the colors red, green and blue, in that order. So when we see the banana, the light from the banana hits the cones, stimulating them. They send the message across to our brain via our optic nerves, which processes the information and tells us what color we’re looking at. And we then know whether the banana is raw, ripe, or rotting.

The rods in our eyes are active in low-light environments, where cones fail to perform, but they perceive black and white, which is why it becomes difficult to determine the color of objects at night, or in very dim lighting.

How are Colors and Wavelengths related?

You now know that different colors have different wavelengths. The human brain can only recognize colors that have wavelengths within the visible spectrum. Colors that have wavelengths that are either less or more than this visible spectrum are invisible to us. Here’s where it gets interesting. The visible spectrum is different for different organisms. In fact, for some insects/ birds and fish, the visible spectrum is much wider, because they have more types of cones in their retina. Some organisms can even see ultraviolet light. This means that while we can see that a banana is yellow, with some black lines, a bee might see many more patterns, or maybe even more colors on the same banana. How’s that for a fun fact?

Related Article : Watch our video to understand the Sense of Sight.

Top 10 Weirdest Animals in the World

List of the Strange Looking Creatures ever!

1. Venezuelan Poodle Moth

Have you seen something between a dog and a month? Well, check this guy out! A Venezuelan poodle moth is a mysterious creature that confuses everyone and very little is known about it. From the looks of it, this insect is a great blend between a large moth and a bright, fluffy white poodle! How weird is that?

2. Red-lipped Batfish

This fish not only looks really weird but is a very bad swimmer too! It uses its pectoral fins to walk at the bottom of the ocean rather than swim! Oh oh.

3. Panda Ant

These ants look cute, right? But mind you, these sting really hard. Found in Chile, these ants have extremely painful stings, hence the common name cow killer or cow ant.

4. Harp Sponge

This creature lives at the depths of 10,800–11,500 feet and was first discovered at off the coast of California. Though this creature looks like a humble instrument, it is a carnivore and will eat just about anything it likes.

5. Star-nose mole

Look from the front and this creature will surely freak you out. This mole has a an odd tentacle-type nose. In reality, these 11 pairs of appendages on the snout are quite amazing. These tentacles have over 25,000 sensory receptors. It is believed that this sensory apparatus can detect seismic waves as well.

6. Blobfish

This thing by far is the most ugliest of the lot. The jelly like flesh of this fish is less dense than water so they tend to just float above the sea floor without doing much. These guys are not great at hunting as well. So they just hang around till food comes to them.

7. Squid with Teeth

This one is right out of anyone’s nightmare. Here is a squid with actual teeth! Promachoteuthis Sulcus is an extremely rare deep sea squid that has a mouth that looks just like it belongs to a real human. Gross, right?

8. Saiga Antelope

This Antelope is one of the world’s most ancient mammals! Believe it or not, this animal has shared the world with saber-toothed tigers and woolly mammoths, 250,000 years ago! May you keep living forever Saiga Antelope!

9. Giant Coconut Crab

This crab is known as the robber crab or the palm thief. It is also the largest of its kind and weighs up to 4.1 Kilograms. This crab is so strong that it can break open coconuts with its pincers!

10. Christmas Tree Worm

Let’s sum-up this list on a happy note. Here’s a cool Christmas tree worm that lives on tropical coral reefs and is found around the world. Each worm is about one and a half inches long and has two fir tree-like protrusions, cause the more the merrier, right?

Similar Article : Check out the list of 10 Tiniest Animals in the World.

The Giant’s Causeway

Where is the Giant’s Causeway?

I’m working on my Irish Accent! I’m at the Giant’s Causeway, or Giant’s Causey, as it’s called here, in the County Antrim in Northern Ireland. Made up of around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, this is the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom as well as a UN World Heritage Site. It also happens to be an extremely popular tourist attraction.

The Geology of Giant’s Causeway

The structure is estimated to have been formed around 50-60 million years ago, due to severe volcanic activity and subsequent cooling down. Not that this in itself isn’t interesting enough, but the place has an even more interesting legend associated with it. Legend has it that the columns are actually the remnants of a causeway built by a Giant. The Irish giant Finn MacCool was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Finn is said to have risen to the challenge, and built the causeway so as to meet the Scot and fight. There are multiple versions regarding the outcome of the fight, and each of them is interestingly detailed. I so very much want to believe that giants were real!

After the National Trust took over its care in the 1960s, tourism flourished and the site has been popular with tourists ever since. There are plenty of interesting structures to see here, including the very innovatively designed Giant’s Causeway Visiting Centre, which blends perfectly with the landscape. It boasts of beautiful glass walls supported by basalt columns, with award winning interior design.

This is a good place to visit, whether you’re in the mood for a picnic lunch or a hearth pumping hike. There are 4 stunning trails to choose from, with varying difficult levels ranging from babies and pet –friendly to challenging coastal hikes. In fact, there’s a newly accessible cliff top walk for people with disabilities as well! Definitely a cool place to visit if you’re ever in Northern Ireland.

Why do we get Nervous?

What is Nervousness?

Nervousness happens to all- children or adults. It is the anxiety that you feel and makes your body tensed. Your body is getting ready for something that is new- maybe exciting as well, like a hiking trip the next day and you cannot sleep the entire night.

When do we get Nervous?

You feel nervous when you do something new or exciting. Also when you face challenging and difficult tasks, you feel nervous. Such feelings of nervousness arise before the activity and usually start going away once you begin that task.

What happens when we get Nervous?

When you are tensed, your body releases a hormone called adrenaline which prepares your body to face the situation. This adrenaline causes physical symptoms like sweating or heavy breathing that tell that you are getting nervous. Adrenaline sends blood rushing to the most important parts of your body like the stomach and the heart. Thus you might feel butterflies in your stomach or heartbeat racing when you feel nervous.