How old is an antique?

What is an antique?

An antique is an object or work of art which is rare and hence considered a collectable item. It is highly valued due to its age, craftsmanship, quality, historical importance and rarity. The origin of the word ‘antique’ is from the latin word antiquus meaning ‘old, ancient, old-fashioned’. Antiques can include furniture, jewelry, art work, carpets, books, etc.

What age is considered an antique?

As a common rule of thumb, objects that are 100 years or older are considered antiques. While valuing an antique, specialists look to see how rare the piece is, how many were originally made, materials used, the craftsmanship, condition of the antique and how much in demand it is.

What is the difference between an antique, collectable and a vintage object?

Old objects are often slotted under one of three categories – antiques, collectables or vintage. However, their value is not based on this categorisation. It is based on its demand in the market. An antique is an object more than 100 years old, collectables are old but less than 100 years old and vintage items are those that are less than 25 years old or have come back into fashion.

Invention of the Sewing Machine

Who invented the sewing machine?

Sewing machines have a long and interesting history. British inventor Thomas Saint invented the first sewing machine design, which was meant to be used on leather and canvas. However, he did not market or advertise his invention well and there is no evidence that a working model existed. In 1874, a sewing machine manufacturer named William Newton Wilson found the blueprints of Saint’s sewing machine at the British Patent office and was able to construct a working model.

The First Practical Model

The first practical sewing machine was invented by a French tailor named Barthélemy Thimonnier in 1829. His factory was eventually shut down by other tailors who were worried about losing their livelihood to automated sewing machines.

Walter Hunt

The first American lockstitch sewing machine was invented by Walter Hunt in 1832. However, he lost interest in the development of the machine and did not file a patent until much later.

Elias Howe

The first patented lockstitch sewing machine was built by Elias Howe in 1845. His machine was built with improvements upon the work of his predecessors, including Water Hunt.

Isaac Singer

Inventor Isaac Singer of the Singer Manufacturing Company created affordable sewing machines, with a foot pedal, which could be used at home. He formed a company with other inventors in 1856 called the ‘Sewing Machine Combination’ by pooling together their patents.

What happens if you swallow gum?

Myth or truth?

Every child has grown up with the warning that swallowed chewing gum will sit in their stomach for seven whole years. Though this is an old wive’s tale, told to children to stop them from chewing too much gum and from swallowing it, there is some truth behind this statement.

What is chewing gum made of?

Chewing gum is primarily made of natural or synthetic materials (gum resin), flavourings, sweeteners and preservatives.

What happens to chewing gum in the stomach?

When chewing gum is swallowed, it travels down the digestive tract and comes out with a trip to the bathroom. Along the way, the digestive system absorbs the flavourings, sweeteners and preservatives. However, the body cannot break down and absorb gum resin, which is passed through the body undigested.

What if my child accidentally swallowed gum?

If a child swallows too much gum or several smaller pieces of gum, it can combine with other undigested food to cause intestinal blockages. This could cause stomach aches, visits to the doctor and in the worst case, a trip to the hospital.

Is swallowing gum harmful?

Swallowed chewing gum rarely leads to such extreme scenarios. But chewing too much gum can also lead to cavities and ingestion of large amounts of sugar. Too much of any chewing gum or candy can be harmful and sweet treats should always be eaten in moderation.

10 Fun Facts About Hiccups

To know or not to know, that is the question! Well, wouldn’t you prefer to know?

Hamlet, an ever-curious hamster, is on a quest to learn new and interesting facts about the world around us. With a new subject each time, Hamlet explores intriguing facts that you may not have heard before. He’s bored of the same old facts about the same old things. You may feel like you already know everything there is to know about everything, but there’s a whole world out there for you to explore and unknown facts you may not already know! Why not shake things up with Hamlet’s curiosity and a great sense of humour? Take this fun fact loaded adventure with him!

10 Amazing hiccup facts

  1. Hiccups are a mystery, no one knows for sure why they happen!
  2. Almost all mammals have hiccups .
  3. The medical term for the hiccups is singultus.
  4. The sound of a hiccup is caused by your own body cutting off the air that you have sucked in.
  5. Babies in the womb hiccup too!
  6. Babies hiccup more than adults.
  7. Hiccups can happen up to 60 times per minute.
  8. The longest bout of hiccups lasted for 68 years.
  9. The medieval term for hiccups were “hockets”.
  10. Once you hiccup more than 7 times, you typically will hiccup 63 times or more.

Invention of the Watch

Watches are an important part of our day to day lives and have become an essential part of timekeeping.

Who invented the watch?

The first watch was invented by locksmith and inventor Peter Henlein in Nuremberg, Germany in the year 1505.
The watch was not worn on the wrist, but was an ornamental piece to be worn pinned to clothing or attached to a chain.
These watches were known as ‘Pomander Watches’ and were spherical in shape and made of copper. They were a combination of German engineering combined with Oriental design influences.

Were Pomander watches popular?

Pomander watches were time consuming to produce and extremely expensive. As this was the first of a long tradition of watchmaking, the original Pomander watches needed many technical adjustments. The watch needed to be wound several times a day and was often incorrect in its timekeeping by hours.

How did the watch evolve?

Styles changed in the 17th century with the introduction of the pocket watch. However, the wristwatch became popular towards the end of the 19th century when army men began wearing them during the war to ensure synchronised timings before they went into battle.

Why Do Elephants Never Forget?

How big is an elephant’s brain?

Elephants are known to have a great memory and have the largest brain mass of all mammals, weighing a whopping 5 kilograms! Elephant Cognition is the study of the mind of an elephant and studies have shown that elephants have a brain very similar to that of humans. They have a highly convoluted hippocampus and an elephant’s brain has almost as many neurons as the human brain.

Why do elephants have such a great memory?

Elephants have a high ‘Encephalization Quotient’ or EQ. This quotient is based on the actual size of the brain as compared to the size projected by scientists (the size they expect it to be based on the animal’s body weight). This means that the smaller the ratio is, the less intelligent the animal is. This ratio contributes to the elephant’s amazing memory!

Do elephant’s remember humans?

Elephants can remember other elephants and humans upon seeing them. They are known to hold grudges against those who have injured or hurt them and raise alarms to protect their herd against these dangers. They are also able to remember the location of sources of water and the location of sources of food.

10 Fun Facts About Bananas

To know or not to know, that is the question! Well, wouldn’t you prefer to know?
Hamlet, an ever curious hamster, is on a quest to learn new and interesting facts about the world around us. With a new subject each time, Hamlet explores intriguing facts that you may not have heard before. He’s bored of the same old facts about the same old things. You may feel like you already know everything there is to know about everything, but there’s a whole world out there for you to explore and unknown facts you may not already know! Why not shake things up with Hamlet’s curiosity and great sense of humour? Take this fun fact loaded adventure with him!

10 Interesting Facts About Bananas

  1. A cluster of bananas is called a ‘hand’, while a single banana is called a ‘finger’.
  2. Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive.
  3. Bananas can float in water.
  4. Bananas contain a natural chemical called ‘Serotonin’ which makes people happy.
  5. A strawberry is not a berry, a banana is.
  6. Bananas are made of 75% water.
  7. India produces more bananas than any other country.
  8. Humans are 50% identical to bananas as they share about half of the same DNA.
  9. Bananas have been depicted in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.
  10. More songs have been written about bananas than any other fruit.

Winter Foods To Keep You Warm

What are winter foods?

Winter foods are foods which are available in the winter months and help keep the body warm and provide nutrition during the cold season. They boost your immunity and reduce the chances of catching common diseases such as colds and cases of flu.

What is the best food to eat in the winter?

Foods high in vitamins and minerals are the best foods to eat in the winter. For example, swap out regular potatoes for sweet potatoes as they are a rich source of Vitamin A, potassium and fibre. Turnips and their greens are also a great source of nutrients such as Vitamin K and also Vitamin A. Other sources of nutrients include dried dates, almonds and walnuts.

Winter Vegetables:

Radish – High in Vitamin A, K, B6, C and E, along with antioxidants, zinc and potassium.

Mustard Greens – Loaded with anti-oxidants, iron and fibre.

Winter Squash – A great source of Vitamin C.

Winter Fruits:

Oranges – High in Vitamin C (which helps curb the common cold)

Strawberries – A great source of Vitamin B9 and Vitamin C

Apples – Loaded with antioxidants and dietary fibre.

Who Invented the Saw?

A saw is a hand tool mainly used to cut wood. It has a long blade, wire or chain with a serrated edge. There are many different types of saws including hand saws, back saws and frame saws.

Early Mention of Saw

Many stories surround the invention of the saw. One of the earliest discoveries of the saw comes from Ancient Egypt, where there is proof of copper saws being found in unearthed tombs. Saws dating back to the Early Dynastic Period (31st Century BC) have been excavated from tombs. Illustrations on walls also show carpenters using different saws in their construction work.

Roman history speaks of the earliest known sawmill, the Hierapolis Sawmill, which was used to cut stone.

Chinese Legend

According to Chinese legend, Lu Ban – a structural engineer, carpenter and inventor during the Zhou Dynasty, is credited with discovering the saw. After cutting his hand on a leaf with a spiny texture, he was inspired to replicate the serrated edge to create a tool.

Greek Legend

In Greek mythology, Talos created the saw blade after seeing the spine of a fish.

Do Animals Feel Emotions?

Emotions can be defined as a conscious mental reaction which comes in the form of strong feelings usually felt towards or because of a particular object. This can cause a variety of changes in the body. To study emotions better, scientists divide these reactions into three categories – physiological, psychological and behavioural.

What kinds of emotions can animals feel?

Charles Darwin was the first scientist to suggest that animals had emotions, much like humans, However, his theories were disregarded until recently. Scientists are now suggesting after extensive research, that animals do feel a certain range of emotions.

These emotions – such as fear and love influence an animal’s behaviour and lead them to make decisions. New research shows that animals can have physiological reacts to emotions (Example: an increase in heart rate) and behavioural reactions to emotions (Example: their hair stands up). Conclusive proof is yet to be discovered that animals can think deeply into their emotions and have psychological reactions.

Can animals understand human emotions?

Research has shown that social animals like dogs can read human expressions and react when they see facial expressions depicting extreme emotions such as love, fear and anger. Hence, dogs are a highly common support animal.

10 Amazing Dinosaur Facts

To know or not to know, that is the question! Well, wouldn’t you prefer to know?

Hamlet, an ever curious hamster, is on a quest to learn new and interesting facts about the world around us. With a new subject each time, Hamlet explores intriguing facts that you may not have heard before. He’s bored of the same old facts about the same old things. You may feel like you already know everything there is to know about everything, but there’s a whole world out there for you to explore and unknown facts you may not already know! Why not shake things up with Hamlet’s curiosity and great sense of humour? Take this fun fact loaded adventure with him!

10 Dinosaur facts you didn’t know!

  • Dinosaurs lived on Earth for about 160 million years, 64 times longer than people have been around.
  • Palaeontologists believe that birds are the only surviving dinosaurs.
  • Most meat-eating dinosaurs had bones filled with air similar to that of birds.
  • A lot of dinosaurs were usually human sized or smaller.
  • Mary Anning, born in 1799, was one of the most famous fossil hunters of all times.
  • The Stegosaurus had a body that was the size of a van, but its brain was the size of a walnut.
  • Dinosaurs often swallowed large rocks that stayed in the stomach and helped them grind up food.
  • Corythosaurus had a big, hollow crest connected to its nose which helped it make a loud blast of a noise.
  • All dinosaurs can either be Ornithischia (bird-hipped) or Saurischia (lizard-hipped).
  • A Spinosaurus can grow over 50 feet long and weigh 20 tonnes.

Here are a few more amazing facts about dinosaurs!

Why Do We Have Earwax?

What is earwax?

Earwax is a secretion produced by special glands in the outer ear canal. It is produced by humans and most mammals. Its technical name is ‘cerumen’. It is a waxy substance that can either be dry and flaky or sticky and wet. It can range in colour from being yellow/orange to reddish/dark brown.

Why do we need earwax?

Earwax has many important jobs. It moisturizes the skin of the ear canal to prevent dry and itchy ears. It also contains special chemicals that fight off infections and acts as a protective layer that keeps the sensitive eardrum safe.

Can earwax create a blockage?

In most humans, the earwax naturally migrates out of the ear canal and is washed away when we bathe. As the ear canal constantly creates earwax, the skin is always moisturized and protected. However, sometimes there is an excessive build-up of earwax which can cause earaches and a mild loss of hearing. It is best to go visit a doctor, who can prescribe ear drops or safely remove the wax.

Using earbuds or other cleaning tools only pushes the earwax deeper and can cause a blockage or damage to the eardrum.

Get to know all about the sense of hearing here

Who invented eyeglasses?

The history of the eyeglass comes with several different theories. There are many different stories about who invented the eyeglass. However, the most commonly accepted theory is that the first eyeglasses were invented by monks living in Italy in the 13th century. The exact city in which the eyeglasses varies, with stories suggesting it was most likely in Pisa.

There are other claims as well, that a nobleman in Venice, named Salvino degli Armati invented the eyeglass in the 17th century.

Other accounts from explorer Christopher Columbus suggest that he encountered eyeglasses during his travels in China in the 13th century. However, these claims have not been backed by any proof.

Who invented bifocals?

Bifocals are eyeglasses with two distinct optical powers. Instead of switching between pairs of glasses constantly, people with near and far-sightedness can use the same pair of glasses to see distances as well as read.

The invention of bifocals has been largely attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who suffered from poor vision through his life.

Mulla Nasruddin and The Soup of the Soup

The fame of Mullah Nasruddin had spread far and wide and people were keen to meet him. One such person decided to visit him, carrying a big basket of fresh vegetables from his farm as a gift.

Pleased by the respect shown to him and the generosity of his visitor, Mullah asked him to dine at home and invited him to stay as a guest for the night.

The visitor returned to his village well-fed and well-rested. He told all his neighbours about the hospitality of the famed Mullah Nasruddin.

A few days later, there was a knock at Mullah’s door and a couple stood outside. When asked who they were, they replied with big smiles, “Oh great sir! We heard about your fame from our neighbour – the man who visited you carrying the big basket of vegetables! We heard of your hospitality and wanted to visit you for ourselves.”

Flattered by all of the compliments, Mullah invited the couple to stay for dinner and fed them a lavish meal. He also invited them to stay as his guests for the night. They left the next day, satiated and happy.

A week later, a group of people appeared at his door. They said, “We heard all about your wonderful generosity from our friends! We are the neighbours’ neighbours of the man who brought you the big basket of vegetables.”

Mullah realized all his hospitality was being taken advantage of and it had to stop. With a smile on his face, he invited the new set of guests into his house, offering them dinner.

The visitors gladly sat down to eat Mullah’s infamous home-cooked meal. Their mouths fell open with a shock when Mullah placed a bowl of hot water in front of each one of them.

“Oh guest, please begin! This is the soup of the soup of the vegetables your neighbour gave me!”

The guests quietly left his house, while Mullah smiled to himself.

Click here for more Mullah Nasruddin Stories.

For other interesting short stories for kids click here.

Tenali Raman : Tenali Raman and the Weight Lifter

One day, Tenali Raman and his wife were on their way to Hampi. They stopped at a village on the way to rest and drink water and found the entire village had gathered to watch a weightlifter who was putting on a performance. With his big arms and bulging muscles, he picked up a 200 kg bag of rice with ease.

Tenali was very impressed and exclaimed, “You are very strong! Look how easily you lifted that bag! But I can hold up something heavier! I will carry this hill on my bare shoulders!”

“How long did it take you to prepare?”, Tenali asked the weightlifter.

To which he replied, “3 months of hard work!”

“Since I will be carrying a heavier weight, I will need 6 months to prepare!”, proclaimed Tenali. “And to help me prepare, I will need a comfortable place to stay, nourishing food to eat and daily massages!”

Eager to see Tenali perform this feat, the villagers agreed to host him and his wife. Each day, he was being brought food and given massages. Tenali and his wife spent 6 months living in luxury while being waited on hand and foot.

When the day finally arrived, the entire village gathered at the base of the hill, waiting to see what Tenali would do. Tenali stood next to the village chief and said, “Well, give it to me, then?”

“Give you what?”, the chief asked, looking confused. “You are supposed to pick up the hill!”

“I never said I would pick up the hill, I said I would carry it on my shoulders. Do you not have someone who can pick it up and place it on my shoulders?”

The village chief began to laugh as he realized what Tenali had done. “I bow down to you and your intelligence. A man of your wit and acumen should not be asked to carry such a lowly hill!”

10 Fun Facts about Sleep

To know or not to know, that is the question! Well, wouldn’t you prefer to know?

Hamlet, an ever-curious hamster, is on a quest to learn new and interesting facts about the world around us. With a new subject each time, Hamlet explores intriguing facts that you may not have heard before. He’s bored of the same old facts about the same old things. You may feel like you already know everything there is to know about everything, but there’s a whole world out there for you to explore and unknown facts you may not already know! Why not shake things up with Hamlet’s curiosity and a great sense of humour? Take this fun fact loaded adventure with him!

10 Interesting Facts about Sleep

1. The albatross bird can multitask by sleeping while flying.

2. The sensation of falling when half asleep and jerking yourself awake is called a ‘hypnic jerk’.

3. Within 5 minutes of waking up, 50% of your dream is forgotten

4. Humans can sleep with their eyes open.

5. 12% of people dream in black and white.

6. Somniphobia is the fear of sleep.

7. You can only dream about faces you have already seen.

8. Dreams are experienced during REM sleep when the brain is most active.

9. Everyone dreams 4 to 7 times every night.

10. By the time you are 75 years old, you’ll have spent approximately 25 years sleeping.

Story of Krishna Janmashtami

The festival of Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated to mark the birth of Krishna – the eighth avatar of Vishnu. Hindus celebrate the festival by fasting, singing and praying together and visiting Krishna and Vishnu temples. Dahi Handi is celebrated the day after Krishna Janmashtami in Maharashtra and other Western states India. The story behind the birth of Krishna is an interesting one..

The story of Lord Krishna’s birth

A long time ago, in Mathura, there was a king named Kans who was infamous for his greed and unfair rule. After the marriage of his sister Devaki to Vasudev, a prophetic voice from above announced, “Kans, your tyranny is going to come to an end.The 8th son born to Devaki and Vasudev will kill you.” This enraged Kans and he imprisoned the newlyweds.

Kans went on to kill 7 of Devaki’s children. When she gave birth to her 8th child, the prophetic voice returned, and said, “Take the child across the river Yamuna to Gokul and exchange him with your friends Nand and Yashoda’s newly born daughter.” Vasudev looked down to realize, his hands had been unchained. He quickly picked up his child and put him in a basket, arriving at the gates to find them opened on their own and the guards asleep.

As he crossed the stormy river, the basket upon his head, the water never rose above his shoulders. When he struggled, a ten-headed snake appeared to protect the child from the pouring rain. Vasudev by now had realized that his child was a divine being.

At Nand’s house, Vasudev switched the children and returned to the prison. When Kans arrived and tried to harm the child, it took the form of Goddess Durga and said “The 8th child, who is going to end your reign of terror, has been born and will fulfil his prophecy.”

The child, Krishna, was raised by Yashoda and went on to kill Kans, symbolizing the victory of good over evil.

And so, every year we celebrate the birth of Krishna, also known as Janmashtami, across India.

To watch the story of Janmashtami in Hindi, click here.

How Can Some Animals Talk Like Humans?

Have you ever wondered how some animals can sound as though they’re speaking a human language? Many animals, such as parrots, songbirds, beluga whales and dolphins have the ability to mimic humans. They may sound like they are talking, while in fact, they are just great copycats!

Animals mimic human speech!

These animals have a special circuit in the frontal lobes of their brains, making them vocal learners. Only a handful of animals have these circuits, which gives them the ability to mimic human speech and other sounds they hear around them. These circuits play a role in helping these animals learn new noises from their surroundings and recreate them using the muscles in their vocal tracts.

Some animals in captivity (who are vocal learners), such as chimpanzees, also learn to communicate with humans by copying noises and actions. Studies have shown that these actions come out of loneliness and a need to socialize. The pick up social cues from humans around them and copy them.

Why don’t animals speak?

With some vocal learners, especially parrots, you may feel as though they understand what they are saying. However, all these noises are mimicry, which they recreate with their vocal chord muscles.

Fun Facts about Cats

To know or not to know, that is the question! Well, wouldn’t you prefer to know?

Hamlet, an ever curious hamster, is on a quest to learn new and interesting facts about the world around us. With a new subject each time, Hamlet explores intriguing facts that you may not have heard before. He’s bored of the same old facts about the same old things. You may feel like you already know everything there is to know about everything, but there’s a whole world out there for you to explore and unknown facts you may not already know! Why not shake things up with Hamlet’s curiosity and great sense of humour? Take this fun fact loaded adventure with him!

10 Interesting Facts about Cats!

1. A cat’s nose is as unique as a human’s fingerprint.
2. A cat’s urine glows under a black light.
3. Purring actually improves bone density and helps a cat heal.
4. The average cat can leap 8 feet in a single jump – nearly six times its body length!
5. Cats sweat through their paws.
6. They can rotate their ears 180 degrees with the help of 32 muscles.
7. Cats have the capacity to run faster than Usain Bolt, the fastest living human.
8. Each cat has a membrane within their eye, similar to a third eyelid.
9. Cats spend nearly 1/3rd of their waking hours cleaning themselves.
10. For 20 years, the mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska was a cat named Stubbs.

Vikram Betaal: King Badsa and His Son

King Vikram was given the duty of bringing Betal to a tantric. Betal traditionally means ‘evil spirit’. Each time Vikram tried to capture Betal, it told him a story that ended with a riddle. If Vikram could not answer the question correctly, Betal agreed to remain in captivity. But, if the king knew the answer and still kept quiet, his head would burst into a thousand pieces. And if King Vikram spoke, Betal would escape and return to his tree.

Betal told another interesting story, as King Vikramaditya carried him on his shoulders.

Many years ago, there lived a king named Badsa. He was a great ruler and was loved by all his subjects. He had a son named Agni, who was wicked and had many vices. Unlike his father, he would not make a good ruler. This worried Badsa very much.

One day, while the king was holding court, Agni burst into the room and announced, “I feel I am ready to take over the throne. You are old and I suggest you step down. If you do not, I will form an army to overthrow you.”

Badsa was a peace-loving man and knew his son would go to great extents to take the throne. Ashamed that he was giving up the throne to his son without a fight, he denounced his title and decided he would spend his life in the forest in meditation.

Meanwhile, in his kingdom, Angi tormented his subjects and the kingdom grew very unhappy.

One day, as Badsa sat in meditation, he heard an old woman sobbing loudly. When he asked what the matter was, she replied, “I have only one son and a demon has vowed to eat him tonight!”

Disturbed by what he had just heard, Badsa offered to sacrifice himself to the demon.
The old woman and her son tried to convince him to change his mind but the king was adamant to help her out.

As per his plan, when the demon arrived later that night, Badsa offered himself. The demon did not think twice before quickly eating the king. Thus, the old woman’s son was saved.

Here, Betal asked King Vikramaditya, “What do you think of the old king’s sacrifice?”

King Vikramaditya thought for a moment and then replied, “There is no sacrifice here. This was not a selfless act by the king. He felt guilt for leaving his subjects at the hands of his unworthy son and offered himself to the demon in the hope of achieving moksha.

Betal replied, “I think you are right in your judgement. But since you have spoken, I will fly back to my peepul tree.”

Saying this, Betal flew away, leaving King Vikramaditya to draw his sword and chase him once more.

The Patachitra and the Batik art forms have inspired the style of the artwork seen in the Vikram Betal series of videos.

Patachitra is a traditional form of cloth based painting found in the states of Odisha and West Bengal. The subjects explored are folklore and traditional stories, which are painted using naturally made colours.

Batik is a traditional form of art in India which involves the use of wax on fabric. Presently, there is no one community which creates textiles and artwork using Batik and its reach has spanned India. Traditionally painted on fabrics like cotton and silk, the form has expanded to a variety of textiles.

Why is the sea salty?

Rainwater and Minerals

The rainwater which falls on land contains some carbon dioxide dissolved from the surrounding air, making it slightly acidic in nature. This acid weathers rocks as it flows over them, dissolving the rocks and creating electrically charged particles (ions). These ions primarily consist of sodium and chlorine which are salty in nature and once they reach oceans and seas – are the reason why the water is salty.

Underwater Volcanoes and Hydrothermal Vents

Some of these minerals are used up by organisms living in the water, while the remainder is left to build up over time. It is millions of years of accumulation which has led to oceans and seas being as salty as they are today. Underwater volcanoes and hydrothermal vents present on the ocean and sea beds also release salts into the water.

Evaporation and Salinity

The process of evaporation also plays a role in adding salinity to the water. Water evaporates, leaving the dissolved salts behind. The salt content in oceans and seas is regulated by the rivers which flow out of them – constantly balancing the level of salt. Isolated bodies, such as the Dead Sea, have grown increasingly salty as minerals have been constantly added over millions of years, without being drained out, creating hypersaline water.

Vikram Betaal: The Brave Son

King Vikram was given the duty of bringing Betal to a tantric. Betal traditionally means ‘evil spirit’. Each time Vikram tried to capture Betal, it told him a story that ended with a riddle. If Vikram could not answer the question correctly, Betal agreed to remain in captivity. But, if the king knew the answer and still kept quiet, his head would burst into a thousand pieces. And if King Vikram spoke, Betal would escape and return to his tree.

King Vikramaditya reached the peepul tree and placed Betal on his shoulder once again. As they walked, Betal began to tell another story.

“One afternoon, a man came into the court of King Roopsen, asking to be employed as the King’s bodyguard. He introduced himself as Birbal and promised to protect the King. After watching a display of his skills, the King readily agreed to give him the job.

As Birbal was walking through the forest one day, he heard a strange and frightening scream. It was a demon who had descended from the mountains and was storming towards the King’s palace. Birbal drew his sword and jumped in the demon’s way.

“I am here to banish the King and send him into the forest, away from luxuries and comfort. If he does not leave, I will curse his whole kingdom!” said the demon.

Birbal was shocked at this news and asked, “Is there anything I can do to save both the King and Kingdom?”

The demon roared, “You must find a suitable substitute for the King! One who is of a pure heart!”

Birbal asked for a day to find a substitute and went home. When he told his family the truth, his son offered himself as a substitute for the King.

The next morning, King Roopsen received word of the demon and arrived to the forest to try and stop Birbal and his son.

“What can I give you, O demon, to stop you from taking this young man! Surely there is something I can offer you!”, said the King.

“Give me half your kingdom and I will spare both you and this young boy”, bellowed the demon.

The King agreed to hand over half of his kingdom to the demon and Birbal’s son was safe.

“So tell me, wise King,” began Betal. “Who made a larger sacrifice? Birbal’s young son or the King?”

King Vikramaditya laughed and said, “It is a King’s duty to protect his subjects, but Birbal’s son was ready to give up his life for a man he did not know, and that, is the highest sacrifice.”

“You are right! But since you have opened your mouth, I must fly away.” With these words, Betal flew away, leaving King Vikramaditya to chase him with his sword.

5 Facts about Black Holes

To know or not to know, that is the question! Well, wouldn’t you prefer to know?

Hamlet, an ever curious hamster, is on a quest to learn new and interesting facts about the world around us. With a new subject each time, Hamlet explores intriguing facts that you may not have heard before. He’s bored of the same old facts about the same old things. You may feel like you already know everything there is to know about everything, but there’s a whole world out there for you to explore and unknown facts you may not already know! Why not shake things up with Hamlet’s curiosity and great sense of humour? Take this fun fact loaded adventure with him!

5 Interesting Black Hole facts for kids

  1. A black hole is a region in space having such a high field of gravity that nothing can escape it.
  2. Black holes distort time and space around them.
  3. They devour things and regularly spit them out.
  4. A person falling into a black hole would be spagettified.
  5. There is a massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Vikram Betaal: Princess Chandralekha

King Vikram was given the duty of bringing Betal to a tantric. Betal traditionally means ‘evil spirit’. Each time Vikram tried to capture Betal, it told him a story that ended with a riddle. If Vikram could not answer the question correctly, Betal agreed to remain in captivity. But, if the king knew the answer and still kept quiet, his head would burst into a thousand pieces. And if King Vikram spoke, Betal would escape and return to his tree.

Betal began another story, as he was being carried upon King Vikramaditya’s shoulders.

A long time ago, there was a beautiful and intelligent princess named Chandralekha. Many suitors came to offer proposals of marriage to her. She always declined, saying, “My husband should be strong, courageous and talented.”

One day, a prince named Virendra came to propose to Chandralekha. He said, “I can tell the fortune of people and have never been proven wrong.”
Chandralekha offered him a chamber in the palace to stay in while she made her decision.

The next day, Prince Udaivir arrived, wanting to have her hand in marriage. “I have a chariot which can run on land as well as in the sky,” said the prince, hoping to impress her.
He too was offered a chamber in the palace to wait.

The third day, Prince Dhananjay came to ask for Chandralekha’s hand in marriage. He boasted, “I am an unparalleled warrior. No one can destroy me!”
Chandralekha asked him to wait while she chose between the three.

The next morning, Chandralekha’s mother was horrified to find her daughter was missing. Scared for her wellbeing, she called upon the three princes to help find the princess.

Prince Virendra closed his eyes for a moment and then said, “As a fortune teller, I can see that the princess has been kidnapped by a giant who wants to marry her.”

Next, Prince Udaivir said, “My chariot is the fastest, we can rush to save the princess!” With that, the three princes, rode off in the chariot.

Upon reaching the giant’s lair, Prince Dhananjay took out his sword, fought the giant bravely and won.

Chandralekha was returned safely to her mother and the kingdom was at peace.

“So tell me King Vikramaditya,” said Betal. “Who should the princess choose as her groom?”

King Vikramaditya thought and then said, “Prince Dhananjay deserves to be the groom. Even though Prince Virendra foretold where the princess would be and Prince Udaivir used his chariot to take them there, Prince Dhananjay defeated the giant. Without his strength, the giant would have eaten them all!”

Betal looked at the king and said, “Right you are, my king. But you have opened your mouth to speak and so I must fly away, back to my tree!” With that, Betal was chased once more by King Vikramaditya.

The Patachitra and the Batik art forms have inpired the style of artwork seen in the Vikram Betal series of videos.
Patachitra is a traditional form of cloth-based painting found in the states of Odisha and West Bengal. The subjects explored are folklore and traditional stories, which are painted using naturally made colours.
Batik is a traditional form of art in India which involves the use of wax on fabric. Presently, there is no one community which creates textiles and artwork using Batik and its reach has spanned India. Traditionally painted on fabrics like cotton and silk, the form has expanded to a variety of textiles.

Vikram Betaal: The Unfair King

King Vikram was given the duty of bringing Betal to a tantric. Betal traditionally means ‘evil spirit’. Each time Vikram tried to capture Betal, it told him a story that ended with a riddle. If Vikram could not answer the question correctly, Betal agreed to remain in captivity. But, if the king knew the answer and still kept quiet, his head would burst into a thousand pieces. And if King Vikram spoke, Betal would escape and return to his tree.

The King of Adhak tried to help all his subjects to the best of his abilities. One day, an old man came to his court with his two blind sons.

“O mighty King, I feel my two sons will be a great help to you in your court. Though they are blind, they are gifted with their other senses. One son is an expert judge of horses, while the other can test any kind of jewel for you.”

The King was intrigued and agreed to employ the two young men in his court. A week later, a horse seller came to the court to sell to the King a horse he claimed was very well-behaved. The blind son came forward and began to smell the horse, much to the confusion of the court. When he finished, he said, “This horse will throw off any rider who is not his owner. I sense it.”

When a rider from the King’s stables tried to ride the horse, it threw him off and galloped away. The horse seller left the court, feeling ashamed.

A few days later, a jeweller came to the court of the King, bringing him the largest diamond the court had ever seen. The second son was called to examine the jewel and took it in his hands. Soon after he had touched it, he disuaded the King from buying it, saying, “Your Majesty, the jewel has been inauspicious for those who have worn it previously and if you buy it, it could prove dangerous to your well-being.”

And with that, the King asked the jeweler to leave his court. News arrived later that a King from the neighbouring kingdom had bought the diamond and fallen gravely ill soon after.

The old man returned months later to visit his sons. While he was in court, the King asked him, “I have seen the skills of both your sons, but what is your skill?”

The old man replied, “I can tell the reality of a man and yours is that you are the son of a thief.”

The King was enraged that the old man had exposed his truth and him and his two sons were banished from his court.

Betal then asked King Vikramaditya, “Who was to blame for the banishment of the three men?”

King Vikramaditya replied, “It was the King. Though he was offended by the words of the old man, he should have remembered that it is not his roots that defined him, but who he is today.”

Hearing those words, Betal flew back to his peepul tree.

The Story of Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivratri is a Hindu festival which is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva. Devotees observe this day by fasting, chanting prayers and meditating. Unlike other Hindu festivals, which are celebrated during the day, Maha Shivratri is celebrated during the night. Celebrations also include bathing the Shiva Linga in honey and milk in the temples.

Why do we celebrate Maha Shivratri?

Legend says that Shivratri is celebrated as the day when Lord Brahma – The creator of the universe and Lord Vishnu – The protector of the universe, got into an argument about their supremacy over each other.

While engaged in the fight, a shining “Lingam”(Shiva Linga) appeared in between the two of them, going up into the sky, through the clouds and seemed to have no beginning or end. Awestruck by its magnitude, Brahma and Vishnu decided to compete to find one end each – with the winner establishing supremacy over the loser. Brahma started his journey into the sky and Vishnu descended into the depths of the world.

In his journey, Brahma came across a Ketaki flower that had been placed at the top of the Lingam, but had floated down. He lied by saying he had reached the top, using the flower as his proof. This angered Shiva and he revealed his true form in front of them. He punished Brahma, and cursed him that no one would ever pray to him. Lord Shiva made them realise that there was a third power mightier than them, Shiva – The creator, preserver and the destroyer of the universe.

Since, this was the first time Shiva manifested himself as a Linga, the day is considered to be extremely auspicious and is celebrated as Maha Shivratri.

Do you know how Lord Ganesha got his elephant head? Click here and find out!

Vikram Betaal: King Shoorsen

King Vikram was given the duty of bringing Betal to a tantric. Betal traditionally means ‘evil spirit’. Each time Vikram tried to capture Betal, it told him a story that ended with a riddle. If Vikram could not answer the question correctly, Betal agreed to remain in captivity. But, if the king knew the answer and still kept quiet, his head would burst into a thousand pieces. And if King Vikram spoke, Betal would escape and return to his tree.

As King Vikramaditya carried Betal on his shoulders, Betal asked him, “What in a man, makes him higher than others? Listen to my story and then tell me.” And with that, he began another tale.

Once upon a time, the just and good King Shoorsen ruled the Kingdom of Magadha. One afternoon, lost in a hunt, he went deeper and deeper into the forest, till he didn’t know where he was. Hearing a rustling sound nearby, he stumbled upon a young man.

“I am Gunadhip, an orphan who has been travelling from town to town searching for work,” said the young man. “From your dress and jewels, I can tell you are royalty, how did you end up in this forest?”

After hearing the king’s story, Gunadhip guided the king out of the forest safely. Impressed by Gunadhip’s nature, he offered him the job of minister in his court.

Gunadhip was deeply in love with a young maiden and wanted the king to meet her. The maiden was the most beautiful girl the king had ever seen. Upon being introduced, the girl bowed low and uttered , “It is my pleasure to meet you, King Shoorsen. I would like to marry you. I am sorry Gunadhip, but it has always been my dream to live in a palace and I can do so if I marry the king.”

Gunadhip took a deep breath and regained his composure. He turned to the king and said, “You are my king and master. If you would like to marry her, I will not stop you.”

The king was surprised but turned to the maiden and said, “Do you not know who Gunadhip is? He is my minister and has his own palace with hundreds of maids and servants. You will live a life of luxury.”

Hearing this, the maiden agreed to marry Gunadhip.

Betal asked King Vikramaditya, “Which man was higher and nobler for his actions? King Shoorsen or Gunadhip?”

“Betal, King Shoorsen’s duties are to protect the welfare of his people, including Gunadhip. By convincing the maiden to marry Gunadhip, he put the happiness of his subjects before his own, making him more noble than Gunadhip.”

Betal laughed, “Right you are, but since you have spoken, mighty king, I will fly off and return to my peepul tree!”

10 Facts about Alligators

To know or not to know, that is the question! Well, wouldn’t you prefer to know?

Hamlet, an ever curious hamster, is on a quest to learn new and interesting facts about the world around us. With a new subject each time, Hamlet explores intriguing facts that you may not have heard before. He’s bored of the same old facts about the same old things. You may feel like you already know everything there is to know about everything, but there’s a whole world out there for you to explore and unknown facts you may not already know! Why not shake things up with Hamlet’s curiosity and great sense of humour? Take this fun fact loaded adventure with him!

10 Amazing alligators facts for kids!

1. Alligators can be described as ‘living fossils’ as they have been living on the Earth for millions of years.
2. Damaged bones suggest that dinosaurs were a regular part of the ancient alligator’s diet.
3. The pressure exerted when an alligator bites down equals the weight of a small pick up truck.
4. An adult human can hold the jaws of an alligator shut with their bare hands as the muscles used to open the jaw are much weaker.
5. An alligator can go through over 2,000 teeth in its lifetime.
6. Other than meat, alligators also eat fruit when they get the chance.
7. American alligators can climb very well and sometimes climb trees to get a better spot to bask in the sun.
8. These animals keep to themselves and usually don’t attack humans unless they are threatened.
9. The alligator’s rough skin makes it look like a floating log, which is helpful when stalking prey.
10. Alligators have no vocal cords, but can bellow loudly by sucking air into their lungs and blowing it with a roar like sound.

Why do feet smell?

What is the cause of smelly feet?

The scientific name for stinky feet is bromodosis. Foot odour is caused by the build up of bacteria which multiply in sweaty areas. They inhabit sweaty, dark places, such as your feet that, have been in your socks all day long. Some socks do not effectively absorb your sweat and as a result your feet remain damp.These bacteria feast on the dead skin and sweat on your feet and produce a smelly organic acid or by-product. It is this acid, which causes stinky feet.

Why do only your feet smell?

The feet have more sweat glands as compared to the rest of the body, producing sweat to keep the feet moist and supple. Hence, more bacteria are attracted to your sweaty feet and as a result, create an unpleasant smell. Also, your feet spend their day trapped in your socks and shoes, creating the perfect environment for the bacteria to breed.

Is there a treatment for smelly feet?

There are several things you can do to reduce the build-up of sweat bacteria such as wear fresh cotton socks everyday to absorb sweat, wash your feet regularly and make sure your shoes aren’t too tight.

Discovery of Radium

What is radium?

Radium is a radioactive element with the chemical symbol ‘Ra’. It emits radioactive light rays which cause it to glow in the dark. In regular conditions, radium is a silvery metal. When exposed to air, it reacts to nitrogen and quickly forms a black coating.

Who discovered radium?

Marie Curie and Pierre Curie discovered radium in the form of radium chloride. Later, it was isolated in its metallic state through the electrolysis of radium chloride, by Marie Curie and André-Louis Debierne.

When was radium discovered?

It was discovered in 1898 and isolated in its metallic state in 1911.

How did Curie discover radium?

Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium while working with samples of uraninite (pitchblende). After extracting uranium from uraninite, they discovered it was still radioactive. This suggested that it contained another element other than uranium which was also radioactive. Further studies led to the discovery of radium. The Curies announced their discovery to the French Academy of Sciences on the 26th of December, 1898.

In September of 1911, Marie Curie and André-Louis Debierne announced that they were successful in extracting a sample of radium in its metallic state.

What are the uses of radium?

Radium was initially used to make paints which would glow. These paints were used on clocks, watches and instruments that people could see in the dark. However today, the element has no major industrial uses as radium is highly radioactive and dangerous.

How do people in Igloos stay warm?

Where are igloos found?

Igloos are often associated with the Eskimo or Inuit community. They are built as temporary houses or camping stations for hunters living in areas of extreme cold, such as the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, the United States and Russia.

Are igloos warm inside?

Despite being made from snow, igloos are able to keep its inhabitants warm due to many properties. Instead of ice, blocks of wind-blown snow are used to build igloos. These blocks have interlocked pieces of ice, which help trap heat and insulate the igloo. The inside of the igloo also has many levels or tiers. A small fire is built on the lowest tier and the inhabitants sleep on the upper tiers. They are able to stay warm as warm as rises to the higher tiers, while cold air sinks down to the bottom. The body heat radiated from the inhabitants also plays a part in keeping the igloo warm on the inside. Bodily heat is insulated and trapped within the igloo and helps keep its inhabitants warm.

The entrance of the igloo is also connected with a tunnel built at a right angle. Hence, cold air blowing outside cannot blow directly into the igloo and make its inhabitants feel cold.

Melting helps the igloos!

Igloos are not immune to the sun outside or to heat being insulated inside. However, when the igloo melts slightly, it creates a thin layer of ice, which makes the igloo sturdier and helps make it a better insulator.

Human Heart Facts and Information

To know or not to know, that is the question! Well, wouldn’t you prefer to know?

Hamlet, an ever curious hamster, is on a quest to learn new and interesting facts about the world around us. With a new subject each time, Hamlet explores intriguing facts that you may not have heard before. He’s bored of the same old facts about the same old things. You may feel like you already know everything there is to know about everything, but there’s a whole world out there for you to explore and unknown facts you may not already know! Why not shake things up with Hamlet’s curiosity and great sense of humour? Take this fun fact loaded adventure with him!

12 Fascinating Facts about the Human Heart

1. The thump thump of a heart beat is the sound made by the valves of the heart opening and closing.
2. The adult heart is the size of a large fist.
3. The human heart beats 35 million times a year. That’s 2.5 billion times through your life!
4. All of the blood in your body travels through your heart once every minute.
5. A woman’s heart beats faster than a man’s, with a woman’s at 78 beats per minute and a man’s at 70 beats per minute.
6. Every cell in the body gets blood from the heart except your corneas.
7. Blood is actually a tissue.
8. If all the blood vessels in your body were laid out end to end, they would extend to a 100,000 kms! That’s almost 2 ½ times around the Earth!
9. A kitchen faucet would need to be turned on all the way for 45 years to equal the amount of blood pumped by the heart in an average life time.
10. The youngest person to receive heart surgery was one minute old.
11. Laughing is good for your heart. It lowers blood pressure and reduces stress hormone levels, improving overall cardiovascular health.
12. The heart has its own electrical supply and will continue to beat when separated from the body as long as it has a supply of oxygen.

Discovery of black holes

What is a black hole?

A black hole is an area in space which has a very strong field of gravity and as a result, light is unable to escape from it. Due to this, black holes are invisible. In order to observe them, telescopes are equipped with special instruments which observe the behaviour of material and stars surrounding black holes in order to detect their presence. Black holes are formed when a large star dies and collapses into itself. It is this compression of matter into a tiny space, which causes the strong field of gravity.

Who discovered black holes?

In 1915, Albert Einstein published his Theory of General Relativity – upon which a majority of modern physics is based. Soon after its publication, German physicist Karl Schwarzschild found solutions to Einstein’s equations and predicted the existence of black holes.

In 1970, it was the theoretical work of Stephen Hawking which defined black holes as we now understand them. His studies revealed characteristics of black holes – their ability to have a temperature and give off heat, which played a part in helping future scientists understand them better.

What are the different types of black holes?

As per different theories, there may be three types of black holes (based on their masses)-

1. Miniature Black Holes – Their mass is much smaller than that of the sun. None have been discovered so far.

2. Stellar Black Holes – They are formed when a massive star collapses.

3. Supermassive Black Holes – They are most likely formed as a byproduct when a galaxy is formed and as result are at the centers of galaxies. They are surrounded by stars and gas clouds and continue to feed on matter and grow.

Why are some people left handed?

There are many misconceptions about people who are left-handed. It is still rare, as 10-12% of the population are lefties. Till the mid-20th century, it was common belief that left-handedness was a defect. It is in fact, left-handed people who face difficulties as the world is not designed to cater to them. A tool as common as a pair of scissors is designed to be used by right-handed people, as are certain sporting goods and most guitars!

Is left handedness determined by genetics?

Till recently it was believed that the inheritance of left-handedness was based on your parents and their genes. Research had previously focussed on the fact that your brain is the determiner for left or right handedness. However, new research suggests that the brain is not the deciding factor in the establishment of handedness.

The science of being left handed

When a child is in its mother’s womb, by 8 weeks, they have chosen a dominant hand. By the 13th week, they are either sucking their right or their left thumbs. However, it is interesting to note that it is only by the 15th week, that the motor cortex in the brain begins sending messages to the spinal cord. If the brain and the spinal cord aren’t connected in the 8th to 13th week, how did the child choose which thumb to suck? It has been suggested that gene expressions in the spinal cord lead it to make the choice, rather than the brain.

Hurricane Facts and Information

To know or not to know, that is the question! Well, wouldn’t you prefer to know?

Hamlet, an ever curious hamster, is on a quest to learn new and interesting facts about the world around us. With a new subject each time, Hamlet explores intriguing facts that you may not have heard before. He’s bored of the same old facts about the same old things. You may feel like you already know everything there is to know about everything, but there’s a whole world out there for you to explore and unknown facts you may not already know! Why not shake things up with Hamlet’s curiosity and great sense of humour? Take this fun fact loaded adventure with him!

12 Interesting Facts about Hurricanes!

1. Hurricanes, typhoons and tropical cyclones are all names for the same phenomenon. They’re just called by different names in different ocean basins.
2. Hurricanes are named based on a list created by the World Meteorological Organization, used on a six year rotation.
3. If a storm is particularly destructive or deadly, the WMO will “retire” that name from official lists so it’s never used again out of respect for the families of the storm’s victims and survivors.
4. The first hurricane that caused people to fly in it, occurred in 1943 during World War II.
5. Hurricane Hunters fly planes into hurricanes to gather weather data.
6. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale defines hurricane strength by categories. A Category 1 storm is the weakest hurricane with winds having speed between 74 and 95 miles per hour; while a Category 5 hurricane is the strongest with winds greater than 155 miles per hour.
7. Hurricanes that move slowly are likely to produce more rains causing more damage by flooding, than fast moving hurricanes.
8. The eye of the hurricane is a section at the center of the hurricane which has the calmest weather with clear skies and low winds.
9. The eye is surrounded by an eyewall which is the deadliest part of the hurricane. It is a towering ring of thunderstroms, high wind speed and severe weather.
10. Planet Jupiter has a hurricane which appears as a red dot on it and it has been spinning for 300 years. This hurricane is bigger than Earth itself.
11. Hurricanes need the Coriolis Force to form – which is very weak at the Equator. This is why hurricanes can not form near Equator.
12. The deadliest hurricane on record is the 1970 Bhola Cyclone in Bangladesh, which killed between 150,000 to 300,000 people.

Did ants invent the world’s first social network?

What exactly is a social network?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… all these are nothing but different social networking websites. But what exactly is a social network? Just like you interact with your friends and family on a day to day basis, a social network is a platform which allows you to send and accept information. It is a web of different interactions – both social as well as personal.

Social network is not limited to humans!

Recent research has shown that the concept of a social network is not limited to us humans. Ants, through their colonies, have exhibited social behaviour, a belief which was earlier limited to humans. An ant colony is a series of complex tunnels and chambers, shared together by the colony. They use a system of chemical signals to communicate with each other. These pheromones are transferred between ants using their antennae. By doing this, they are sharing important information to help one another – to sense food, protect themselves from predators or share where they have previously been.

Communication in ants

Through the passing on of pheromones, ants are able to optimize the manner in which the colony functions. Ants in search of food for the colony have information which guides them in the right direction.

This shows us how ants created a social network long before we had Facebook!

Discovery of America

There are several beliefs in regard to who discovered America first. Most people are aware of the journeys of Christopher Columbus and how he was the first sailor to make the round trip voyage around the Atlantic. However, despite his nautical achievements, was he the first?

Who discovered America?

The most commonly known and believed story is that of Christopher Columbus – an Italian navigator and explorer who landed on the shores of ‘The New World’ in 1492. His discovery is significant as it opened up America to colonization at the hands of European powers.

History of America

However, the history of America is not as simple as that. Research has shown that Columbus was one of the last explorers to “discover” America. Almost 500 years before him, a group of Vikings, led by Leif Eriksson, landed on the shores of what is now known as Newfoundland, Canada. They did not stay for long as their relationship with Native North Americans grew hostile.

Who was the first to discover America?

A fact we often forget when investigating the mystery of who discovered America first is, that when all these different explorers came to America, there were already people there! The first settlers to come to America were in fact, immigrants. Studies suggest that Native Americans, as we know them, have genetic markers connecting them to Asian roots. During the last Ice Age, research shows that there existed a land bridge where there is now the Berring Strait – connecting Asia to North America.

There have also been claims in the past that explorers from Asia and Ireland landed on the shores of America before Columbus and Vespucci. However, these claims are still under exploration.

Moon Facts and Information

To know or not to know, that is the question! Well, wouldn’t you prefer to know?

Hamlet, an ever curious hamster, is on a quest to learn new and interesting facts about the world around us. With a new subject each time, Hamlet explores intriguing facts that you may not have heard before. He’s bored of the same old facts about the same old things. You may feel like you already know everything there is to know about everything, but there’s a whole world out there for you to explore and unknown facts you may not already know! Why not shake things up with Hamlet’s curiosity and great sense of humour? Take this fun fact loaded adventure with him!

13 Interesting Facts about the Moon (Luna)

1. The moon was formed when an astronomical body about the size of Mars crashed into Earth 4.5 million years ago. This is known as the Theia Impact.
2. The sun is 400 X larger than the moon but is also 400 X farther from Earth. As a result, the sun and moon look the same size.
3. The moon is 81 X lighter than Earth.
4. The moon is slowly drifting away from Earth, approximately 4 cms a year.
5. The Earth rotates on its axis at the same speed as the moon rotates around the Earth, so we always see the same side of the moon.
6. The Moon and the Earth orbit each other.
7. The moon is not round, rather, it is shaped like an egg.
8. The moon experiences ‘moonquakes’ much like Earth experiences earthquakes. However, moonquakes can last up to an hour, unlike earthquakes.
9. The lunar maria (singular – mare) are large and dark basaltic plains on the moon made by ancient volcanic eruptions. They are known as moon seas as ancient astronomers first believed them to be filled with water.
10. An astronaut’s footprint could last for a million years, as there is no wind or water on the surface of the moon.
11. When pieces of moon rock were brought back from the Apollo 11 mission, scientists were surprised to find out they had magnetic qualities.
12. The original tapes of the Apollo moon landing were erased and re-used by accident.
13. The Moon takes 27.3 days to rotate on its axis and the same amount of time to complete one revolution around Earth. To us Earthlings, it may look like it isn’t rotating at all! Scientists call this synchronous rotation.

How Do Birds Find Their Way Home?

Did you know that almost 40% of the species of birds in the world practice migration on a regular basis? As amazing as this statistic is, what is even more interesting is the different tools that birds use to navigate during these migrations!

A migratory bird does not have a map it can use to find its way nor can it stop and ask for directions. Then how is it that at least 4,000 birds on Earth successfully migrate each year?

How do birds navigate?

There are several tools a bird can use to navigate itself to ensure it gets home safely. Birds are able to use the sun in order to have a sense of the time of the day and even nocturnal birds use the setting sun to guide themselves. Since nocturnal birds do not have the option of the sun as a reference through the night, they instead use the stars to guide themselves.

How do birds use the magnetic field of the earth?

Certain birds also have a trace amount of the mineral ‘magnetite’ in their beaks. Magnetite works like a bird’s compass, aligning itself with Earth’s magnetic field to help them gauge the direction of Earth’s magnetic poles.

Why don’t migrating birds get lost?

Birds also use familiar landmarks to help navigate themselves – such as mountain peaks, valleys, rivers and roads. Scientists have continued their research into the field of migration and migratory patterns in birds to try and also look at the role of a bird’s sense of smell in their navigation systems.

Mulla Nasruddin and the People’s Judgement

One day, Mullah Nasruddin and his son were travelling to the next town. Nasruddin preferred to walk while his son rode the donkey. On the way, they passed a group of bystanders, and a man remarked, “Look, that selfish boy is riding on a donkey while his poor old father is forced to walk alongside. That is so disrespectful. What a horrible and spoiled child!”

Nasruddin’s son felt embarrassed, so he got off the donkey and asked Nasruddin to get on it instead.  His son started walking beside him and the donkey. Soon they passed another group of people. “Oh, that’s detestable!” one of them exclaimed. “That poor young boy has to walk while his abusive father rides the donkey! That horrible man should be ashamed of himself for the way he’s treating his son. What a heartless parent!”

Nasruddin was upset to hear this. He wanted to avoid anybody else’s scorn, so he decided to have both himself and his son ride the donkey at the same time. As they both rode, they passed another group of people. “That man and his son are so cruel,” one bystander said. “Just look at how they are forcing that poor donkey to bear the weight if two people. They should be put in jail for their despicable act. What scoundrels!”

Nasruddin heard this and told his son, “I guess the only way we can avoid being ridiculed by anyone, is for both of us to walk.”

“I suppose you are right,” the son replied.

So they got off the donkey and continued on foot. But as they passed another group of people, they heard them laughing. “Ha, ha, ha,” the group laughed rudely. “Look at those two fools. They are so stupid that both of them are walking under this scorching hot sun and neither of them is riding the donkey! What morons!”

Moral – Well, If you keep doing what other people want, neither would you be happy nor will they stop judging you.

More fun and interesting Mullah Nasruddin stories, here.

How does a bicycle stay upright?

Scientists have been fascinated by the science of how a bicycle stays upright for almost as long as bicycles have existed! There are several contributing factors which aid our ability to remain upright while riding a bicycle.

How does a bicycle work?

Bicycles function through the conversion of muscular energy (energy created by the cyclist peddling) into kinetic energy (energy created by movement). The bicycle itself has several components which are simple machines – a combination of levers, pulleys and wheels and axles, which help convert the action of pedalling into movement. This may answer any confusion as to how bicycles work, however, does not address how exactly it stays upright.

Gyroscopic Effect

Till a few decades ago, scientists believed that bicycles remained upright owing to the ‘Gyroscopic Effect’ – which means that a spinning wheel will stay aligned to its original direction during motion. The momentum, in this case, is an Angular Momentum, created when a cyclist pedals and propels the bicycle forward. Though the Gyroscopic Effect explains how a bicycle remains stable, experiments conducted revealed that even if the Gyroscopic Effect were to be cancelled, the bicycle would still remain upright!

Caster Effect

The Caster Effect is another effect in play which helps guide the front tire of the bicycle in order for it to stay upright. The centrifugal force of the back wheel also plays a part in ensuring the bicycle does not fall over.

Why does a bicycle stay upright?

A bicycle stays upright due to a combination of different effects – Gyroscopic as well as the Caster Effect. Alongside this, the rider must be taken into consideration. Our mind also plays a role in making sure we do not fall over while riding a bicycle. The body unconsciously balances itself whenever it is needed. If we feel a tilt to the left, we automatically balance ourselves, by leaning into the right.

Avoid Biting your Nails!

Why do we bite our nails?

The habit of nail biting or ‘onychophagia’ could develop because of many reasons. You may notice that this habit is one seen in both children and adults. There are many causes for this habit to grow. People sometimes bite their nails when they are feeling nervous, worried, lonely or bored. They do not realize when they are chewing their nails as it becomes such a natural action. You may notice that you bite your nails more before or during exams or when you are feeling upset.

Why is biting your nails a bad habit?

Biting your nails is an unhygienic habit for many reasons. Your finger nails contain many germs which enter your stomach when you chew or bite on your nails. Biting your nails or pulling on the skin around them could also damage your finger tips or cause your nails to regrow unevenly. This habit could also lead to an infection on your finger tips and cause damage to your teeth and jaws.

What can we do to stop biting our nails?

The first habit you must develop is to keep your nails cut short and keep your hands clean. There are many things you can do every time you feel the need to bite your nails. You can play with a stress ball or stroke a smooth pebble to help deal with feelings of anxiety or stress. You can also stop yourself from biting your nails by painting your nails with bitter tasting nail polish or by wearing a pair of gloves on your hands.

Discovery of Laser

What is a laser?

The full form of ‘laser’ is actually ‘Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation’. Did you know that we use lasers every single day? We use laser printers in offices, lasers to scan the barcodes on products when we buy them and doctors use lasers in life-saving surgeries! But have you ever stopped to wonder exactly what a laser is and how it works? The light that we see around us is a mixture of beams at different wavelengths. Together they can be seen as ‘White Light‘, which is colourless. Lasers, unlike natural light, do not occur in nature and are a creation of man. Scientists figured out how to artificially create this special kind of light.

How can laser light cut through solid objects?

A laser cannot be simply defined as a very strong torch. Lasers produce a narrow, intense beam of light, which is strengthened using a curved mirror. Unlike the light we see around us, the light from a laser consists of rays which are all at the same wavelength. Owing to this property, the waves of light in a laser travel in phase (with their peaks lined up). It is able to cut through things because of this intensity and the fact that it can be focussed into a very tiny spot. It is different from a simple beam of light in many ways. A laser is ‘monochromatic’- only of one colour. This is because all the light in a laser beam is of the same wavelength. The rays of light in a laser are also ‘collimated’ – they can travel in beams parallel to each other, which allows them to travel in a straight beam for long distances. Lastly, the light is ‘coherent’, meaning that it moves in phase together.

Do fish sleep?

Imagine a fish swims all day long. It must get really tired and probably just wants to have a shut eye. But how? Most fish have no eyelids.

Eyelids help terrestrial animals keep their eyes moist. But since fish are always underwater, they do not need eyelids to help keep their eyes moist.

So it’s really difficult for us to make out, if they are sleeping or not!

So if fish don’t have eyelids, does this mean they do not sleep?

Almost all fish sleep. Though some zebrafish are insomniacs. Which means they have trouble sleeping!

Do fish lay down to sleep like other animals?

Since fish live in an environment unlike ours, laying down and sleeping like humans can be dangerous. They rest their brains in parts at different times and are never completely unconscious.

How do fish sleep?

Some fish like the shark keep swimming in their sleep. Tuna fish rest motionless at night, suspended in the water. Bass and perch will sleep under or on top of logs. Reef fish seek refuge in crevices. Parrotfish build a cocoon of mucus in which to sleep.

Why is sleep and resting our body so important?

If we do not sleep properly, we will always be tired, cranky and unhappy. This is because when we sleep, the body also gets a chance to clean itself of waste and other by-products of cell functions within our bodies.

So, fish also need to sleep, so that they can repair their cells and also conserve their energy.

Being responsible with money!

Where does money come from?

Who doesn’t love to get a toy that they were eagerly awaiting or a nice pair of shoes? But have you ever wondered where does money come from? From our parents? How do they get it? From the ATM? From the bank? Well, they work very hard for it and bank just keeps them safe.

How can you be responsible with money?

You can get all you want if you plan the way you want to spend the money that your parents give you.

Make a wish list –

1) Make a wish list which will have all the items that you want for yourself.

2) Rank them in order of what is the most important item for you.

3) Spend money on the items that are ranked higher on the list.

How to save money?

Don’t spend all the money you have as soon as you get it. Create a budget, spend it only on the items that are top ranked on your wish list. Set aside the remaining money (in your piggy bank!).

Once you save enough money, spend it on the rest of the items you have mentioned in your wish list. This way you will get all that you want. Money can be used not just to buy things you like but also to help people. You can always donate a portion of your allowance to a charity that is important for you (like helping hurricane survivors!)

Discovery of Ozone

What is ozone?

Ozone is a highly reactive gas made of three atoms of Oxygen. It is produced naturally when the sun’s rays split oxygen molecules. The free atoms combine with nearby oxygen molecules to form a three oxygen molecule, known as Ozone. This occurs in the Stratosphere and Troposphere layers of the atmosphere.

When was ozone first discovered?

Ozone was first created in a lab by the Dutch chemist Martinus van Marum, in 1785.

Health and environmental effects of ozone

The Ozone in the Stratosphere protects us from the harmful ultra – violet rays of the sun. The Ozone in the Troposphere layer of the atmosphere contributes to air pollution, damaging life forms including causing several breathing problems to human and animals.

Mullah Nasruddin: What clever people do?

One fine morning, Mullah Nasruddin was wandering around a lake. The cool breeze was creating ripples on the surface of the water. Green grass and algae grew on the fringes of the lake. The air was filled with birds chirping.

Mullah Nasruddin sat down beside the lake, enjoying nature around him. He collected small pebbles around him and started tossing them in the water, causing more ripples in the water. The fish in the water darted around, trying to avoid the pebbles. Mullah was lost in thought, when he heard ducks quacking. He looked up to see a flock of ducks swimming close by in the lake.
Mullah thought to himself, “It would be nice to catch a duck or two for dinner.”

He got up and started wading in the water to get closer to the ducks. Mullah was very excited, as he thought about the duck soup he was going to enjoy. The ducks saw Mullah approaching and moved away. But, Mullah kept moving towards them, determined to have his duck and eat it too!

Mullah lunged towards them and the ducks flew away. A surprised Mullah slipped and went under the surface of the water. As he tried to gulp in some air to breathe, he gulped in water, instead. He finally emerged out of the lake, coughing and sat down on the shore.

he was determined to try to catch a duck or two, again. Even though I have failed the first time, I will try again. I shouldn’t lose hope. But the ducks were more cautious this time and had a different plan.

All the ducks were gathered at the centre of the lake and were not moving an inch. As Mullah Nasruddin had no option, he got into the lake and moved to the centre of the lake. But then, the ducks moved to the opposite corner. After several failed attempts, he got tired, and lay down on the lake side, to dry himself off and catch his breath.

After some time, he got up He sat down, by the lakeside again and opened his bag and took out a roll of bread. He dipped the bread in the water and began to eat it.

Some people from the village close by were walking past the lake when they saw Mullah dipping his bread in the lake and eating it.

A man asked, “Mullah, what are you doing?”

Mullah replied, “I am having Duck Soup.”

The man looked at Mullah asked bemused, “Duck Soup?”

The people in the crowd looked at each other. Mullah looked at their confusion and laughed and answered, “That is what clever people do. One who accepts what he or she has, is always happy.”

What came first, the fruit or the colour Orange?

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘orange’?

Do you think of the colour, or the fruit?

Do you imagine the vivid, sweet citrusy fragrance and tangy taste of the fruit, or do you see the colour and its myriad shades?
Don’t you think its fun to eat a colour? No, you aren’t really eating the colour!

Origin of the word orange

The word orange did not exist in the English dictionary till 1300s. So what did people refer to when they wanted to refer to the colour orange? They called it geoluhread or yellow – red. Till some one decided to call the colour orange, ORANGE colour!

Wow! Wonder how he did that? Do you think he saw the exotic fruit and thought, hmm, it reminds him of the colour yellow – red.
But first, let’s see where the fruit’s name originally came from.

What was the colour orange called before oranges?

The fruit’s homeland is in India. The Indians referred to it as narange or naranga, which may have its root in the word for smell in Dravidian languages. The fruit travelled to Europe with Indian, European and Arab traders. The Arabs refer to it as burtakal, which originates from the word for Portugal and the Persians refer to it as naranje.

The word naranje probably worked its way to into the English dictionary from the French, who called it pomme d’orange. The english simplified the word to simply call it orange, in the 1500s.
In 1600s, someone decided to adopt the name of the fruit to the colour, they have previously referred to as yellow – red.

Did the colour orange come before the fruit?

So, now you know, what came first. The fruit ofcourse, and the colour is named after the fruit.

The fruit came first.

Tenali Raman: Tenali Raman and the Jinx

Poet, clown and jester… Tenali Raman was a minister in the court of Krishnadevaraya, the ruler of Vijayanar. He was an extremely versatile personality. The entire kingdom always buzzed with the news of his stories and practical jokes.

He was very famous and stories of his wisdom spread beyond Vijaynagar, in cities which are a part of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu now. A great scholar by profession, Tenali Raman also knew several languages.

There once lived a man called Ramaya in the town of Vijayanagar. It was believed that whoever saw the face of Ramaya the first thing in the morning, would not be able to eat anything throughout the day. So, all the people of Vijaynagar avoided Ramaya all the time.

The news also reached the king’s ears. He wanted to find out the truth for himself and called for Ramaya at once. He made Ramaya stay at a room adjacent to his bed chamber for one night.
The next day, when the king woke up, he went and saw Ramaya’s face the first thing the morning.

Later in the afternoon, the king sat to have his lunch. He was served with freshly cooked hot food. As he was about to take his first bite, he noticed that there was a fly in his food. He threw away the platter and ordered for fresh food. But by the time the food was cooked for the second time, he was not hungry any more.

Thus, the king realized that whatever the people said were true, Ramaya was indeed jinxed. So he ordered his soldiers to hang him immediately.

The soldiers did not want to hang him, but they could not go against the king’s words. They were taking Ramaya towards the gallows, when they met Tenali Raman on the way. Tenali whispered something in Ramaya’s ear and then Ramaya was whisked away by the soldiers.

Later, when the soldiers asked Ramaya about his last wish, he said that he wanted to send across a message to the king. He requested them not to hang him until he received the response of the king.
He said to the soldiers, “Go and tell the king that if it is true that anyone who sees my face in the morning loses his appetite for the day, then anyone who sees the king’s face in the morning is destined to lose his life that day. Tell him that if I am jinxed then so is he, and in fact more than me.”

The king was speechless when he heard Ramaya’s message. He ordered the execution to be stopped immediately. He was ashamed of his ignorance. At once he called Ramaya and offered him a lot of gifts and also requested him to not disclose this incident to anyone in the town.

After all, the people of Vijaynagar would not like to be ruled by a man who was jinxed.

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

Mullah Nasruddin and The Guest of Honour

It was a busy day in the village. Mullah Nasruddin was out for his evening stroll, with his donkey, when he chanced upon a huge gathering of people outside the town hall.

He turned to a person in the crowd and asked him. “What is happening here?”

The person replied, “I don’t know, but some very important people from all over the country and some neighbouring countries have also come.”

“Oh!”, exclaimed Mullah, “Let me find out.”

Mullah Nasruddin walked to the entrance and tried to enter unnoticed.

The guard standing at the town hall’s big doorway stopped and asked him, “Sir, please let me know your name. I cannot allow common people to enter. Some very important people have come here today.”

Mullah looked at the guard and said, “Sir, I am here to deliver an important message for some very important people.”

The guard looked at Mullah Nasruddin suspiciously.

“Sir, please let me in. It is an important message and I cannot tell you whom it is for.”

“No sir, I cannot allow you inside, without knowing whom you want to meet”, replied the guard.

“Sir, please let me in. I will only go inside for a few moments and come out. Here, you can hold my donkey, while I go in.” answered Mullah.

Reluctantly, the guard allowed him inside.

Mullah Nasruddin entered a formal reception area and seated himself at the foremost elegant chair.
The Chief of the Guard approached and said: “Sir, those places are reserved for guests of honour.”

“Oh, I am more than a mere guest,”replied Nasruddin confidently.

“Oh, so are you a diplomat?”, asked the Guard doubtfully.

Answered Mullah, “Far more than that!”

“Really? So you are a minister, perhaps?” the Guard asked again.

“No, bigger than that too”, replied Mullah.

“Oho! So you must be the King himself, sir?” asked the Chief sarcastically.

“Higher than that!” asnswered Mullah, cheekily.

“What?! Are you higher than the King?! Nobody is higher than the King in this village!”

“Now you have it. I am nobody!” said Nasruddin.

Moral of the story – “One cannot be successful or happy in life without a humble but reasonable confidence in oneself.”

For more interesting Mullah Nasruddin Stories, go to Mullah Nasruddin Stories.

Tenali Raman : Tenali Raman and The Arab Horse Trader

Once, an Arab horse trader came to Krishan Deva Raya’s court.

He said, “Your Majesty, see this Arab steed! It is my finest. If you like, I can get more.”

Krishna Deva Raya replied thoughtfully, “This is the only breed missing from my stable.”

The king saw the beautiful horses standing outside his palace.

Krishna Deva Raya said impulsively, “I will buy them all!”

The trader replied, “I need an advance of 5000 gold coins. I’ll bring them in two days.”

Two weeks passed.

Krishna Deva Raya thought to himself while walking in his garden, “Where is the trader?” He saw Tenali Raman sitting there, writing on a piece of paper.

Krishna Deva Raya asked, “What are you writing, Tenali Raman?”

Tenali Raman replied, “I’m listing the biggest fools in the land.”

Curious, Krishna Deva Raya said, “Let me have a look.” Tenali Raman handed him the paper.

Krishna Deva Raya was taken aback and angry. “How can my name be at the top of this list? I’m the king!”

Tenali Raman retorted, “Whoever gives a stranger 5000 gold coins and thinks that he will return is a fool, Your Majesty.”

Krishna Deva Raya asked, “What if he returns?”

Tenali Raman replied in an instant, “Then I will put his name at the top of the list instead of yours!”

Krishna Deva Raya said, “I understand what you’re saying, Tenali. I will always consult you now on important matters.”

Return things you have borrowed from others

Why is it important to return things that you have borrowed?

A lot of us have favourite things, objects or books or clothes or toys we have collected or found or saved for special occassions. Some times it’s a present from some one we love a lot, or sometimes a favourite relative thought of you and brought it from some place they travelled to. Which means they thought you were special.

What happens when someone borrows it and doesn’t give it back, or damages it or breaks it?

You get upset. The same way, your friend may also get upset, if you don’t return their things. Your friend must like you a lot, if they have shared something with you. You must always remember to return it. It shows we like the friend or relative and we value them in our lives.

It is called good manners or good social etiquettes.

Mullah Nasruddin and the Trial

Mullah Nasruddin’s wife was worried that her husband didn’t earn a living. This caused her a lot of stress. She thought her husband, like other husbands should work and earn a living for the family.

As she usually did, she started questioning the husband again, which soon became an argument.

Wife angrily said, “Why can’t you be like normal husbands and do some work and earn a living?”

“Dear Wife, I am worker of the Almighty God. How can I do another job?” replied Mullah.

“Dearest Husband, maybe you can then ask your God to give you something in return for your service,” retorted his wife.

Answered Mullah calmly, “Dearest Wife! You are right. I hadn’t thought of asking God for any returns for my service. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t give me anything.”

“Ohh, then please go and ask your almighty God for some return for your service”, the wife grumbled.

Mullah Nasruddin went to the garden near his house. He sat down on the ground and opened his arms, looking towards the sky.

He said loudly, “Oh God, since I am your humble and devoted servant, will you give me a 100 gold coins for my devotion towards you?”

Mullah’s neighbour, Ahmed was in the balcony and he heard this. He decided to play a prank on Mullah. He threw a bag full of 100 gold coins towards Mullah.

A shocked and surprised Mullah opened the bag to find a 100 gold coins in the bag. He got up and went home with the bag. He called his wife and showed her the bag and said, “See! I am such a good devotee of the Almighty that he gave me a 100 gold coins.”

His wife happily took out a coin from the bag and went to the market.

Seeing Mullah’s wife shopping, their neighbour Ahmed’s wife, grew suspicious. She had a word with Ahmed about this. Ahmed stormed into Mullah Nasruddin’s house and angrily demanded his 100 gold coins back. Mullah remarked back, “How dare you ask for my gold coins? I know you overheard me when I asked the Almighty God for the gold coins.”

“I should sue you in court for justice” an angry Ahmed replied.

Mullah pleadingly, “My friend Ahmed! I am a poor man. I don’t have any good clothes or even means to travel. The judge will surely trust you more.” A resigned Ahmed, gave Mullah Nasruddin his jacket and horse too! They went to the court.

At the court, the judge listened to Ahmed’s complaint. He turned to Mullah and asked him, “Do you want to say anything?’

“My neighbour Ahmed is completely mad”, replied Mullah.

The judge asked Mullah if he had any proof.

“Yes”, replied Mullah.

“Well he assumes, everything I own is his. First it’s the gold coins, then it’s the jacket, then it’s the horse,” replied Mullah.

The judge asked “Is this true Ahmed?”

Ahmed was very upset and angry on hearing this. He replied angrily to the judge, “Yes!”

The judge looks at both of them and said, “There is no point to Ahmed’s complaint. You can both leave.”

Well now, do you think Ahmed’s prank on Mullah was worth it?

For more Mullah Nasruddin stories click here.

Discovery of Genetics

What is Genetics?

The study of genetics is a fascinating science and a useful one. It is the study of genes, genetic variation and hereditary characteristics in living organisms.

Who discovered Genetics?

Gregor Mendel is considered the father of genetics. Mendel studied ‘trait inheritance’, patterns in the way traits or characteristics are handed down from parents to offsprings. The units of inheritance are referred to as gene.

The genetic make up is what makes a person unique.

Subsequent research and study in genetics have helped us to understand chromosomes, mutations, DNA and understand evolution better.

Tenali Raman: Tenali Raman and the Horse

Here’s another great story about Tenali Raman.

Once, king Krishna Deva Raya wanted to expand his army. So, he needed more horses. He decided to give one horse to each person in his kingdom, to take care of. He also gave everyone a good supply of straw to feed the horses. Everyone except Tenali Rama was happy with this plan. He shut his horse in one room and everyday at exactly nine o’clock he gave the horse very little straw through the window. He gave the rest of the straw to his cows who became fat and healthy.

At the end of a year, the king wanted to see all the horses. All the people who had been given horses to grow up, brought their horses for inspection. But Tenali Rama did not bring his horse. On being questioned, he answered that his horse had become so strong that he could not bring it to the court. The king was surprised on hearing this. He said, “Alright, I will send my chief inspector to your house tomorrow morning at nine to inspect the horse there.” Tenali agreed.

The next morning, the chief inspector went to Tenali’s house. He had a long beard. Tenali took him to the room where the horse was kept and asked him to look through the window. When the inspector peeped through the window, naturally his beard went in through the window first. Seeing the beard, the horse thought that it must be straw that was being given to him at the fixed time. It caught hold of the beard in his teeth and pulled. The inspector shouted in pain and tried to pull his beard back. But the horse knew that this was the only food he would get all day and pulled with all his might till the inspector lost his beard.

The inspector went running to the king. He reported that indeed Tenali Rama’s horse was the strongest of them all.

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

Be Nice, Ask for Permission!

Everyone is a bit inquisitive. Sometimes we go to a friend or a relative’s house. We play, we jump, we take things, even open cupboards and play inside or we may even try out clothes or shoes! Sometimes we even open the fridge and may even drink water or juice.

But wait.

Did we ask our friend or relative, if we may touch or play with their things? To ask to use or touch something, or even enter a room is called Asking for Permission. Sometimes people don’t like it and may even get upset, if you touch their things. Your friend may even fight with you and not speak to you. Because they may feel they are being taken for granted.

Asking for permission is social etiquette

Do you remember, we learned about social etiquette and that we must say please and thank you? Well, asking for permission, before we touch or use something that doesn’t belong to us, is also social etiquette.

So, remember to ask for permission the next time!

Mullah Nasruddin at Tea Shop

Mullah Nasruddin was sitting at his favourite tea shop and having his daily tea.

A twelve years old boy, came running through the door, and went directly towards the Mullah and knocked his beautiful cap off his head. The mischievous boy ran away, leaving Mullah surprised. Mullah Nasruddin remained quiet about the boy’s prank. He picked up his cap, and put it back on.

The next day, the same thing happened again. Mullah didn’t react this time either. Although this happened several times, Mullah Nasruddin remained unaffected. The boy thought his prank was amusing and repeated it daily. Mullah would patiently dust his cap and put it back on, every time.

One day, Mullah’s friend questioned him about the daily incident. “Why don’t you punish that naughty boy? He is behaving so badly with you. How can you not get angry?”

“It is useless,” Mullah replied.

One day, Mullah reached the tea shop a bit late. When he reached there, he saw a tall, well built soldier sitting at his favourite place already. Wishing to avoid trouble, Mullah sat on another chair.

In a while, the mischievous boy appeared and ran straight to Mullah’s usual place. He knocked his cap off his head and started to run away. The poor unfortunate boy, in his hurry didn’t realise that it was the soldier and not Mullah Nasruddin, having tea. The soldier spilt his tea and got angry. He caught and lifted him.

Mullah Nasruddin turned to his friend and said, “Now, do you understand, why I was patient?”

It’s always better to Wait for the right time!

For more interesting Mullah Nasruddin Stories, go to Mullah Nasruddin Stories.

Discovery of Gold

What is gold?

Gold, a shiny metal is also known as a noble metal. It has been revered since time immemorial to be fit for kings and god and rightly so!

It is one of the most ductile and malleable metals and substances known to man. It is also resistant to tarnishing and maintains its original structure even under the most severe chemical stress.

Who discovered gold?

According to ancient Greek legends, there is proof that gold existed and was known to the Greeks of the Chalcolithic (5000 BC) period, also known as the early Bronze Age. They had even devised methods of refining and extracting gold from ores, including a smelting process called ‘Fire Sitting’. Later Greek geographer Strabo (64 BC – 24 AD) makes a mention of this in his works.

The early Romans from around the same time period, also had a fascination for gold and infact expanded their empire, to get more gold. They had improvised on physics to make a hydraulic gold mining machine.

The ancient Egyptians also have records of their gold mining sites in Nubia in the Turin Papyrus Map, one of the oldest topographical maps discovered.

When and where was gold discovered?

Gold objects have been found in several burial sites or old civilisation of the same time. The oldest known gold objects were discovered by chance, by a Bulgarian excavator operator, Raycho Marinov, in 1972. The ancient burial site, Varna Necropolis, dates back to 4560–4450 BC, according to carbon dating conducted in 2006.

Tenali Raman: Tenali Raman And The Great Pundit

Here’s another great story about Tenali Raman.

Once, a great pundit from a foreign land visited King Krishna Deva Raya’s court. He claimed that he had knowledge of all subjects and was an expert in every field. He challenged that he would argue with all of his wise ministers and defeat them. The king accepted his challenge. The pundit then proceeded to argue with the learned men of the kingdom on various subjects. The king’s ministers failed miserably. Then, the king summoned his wisest minister, Tenali Raman.

Tenali took a small bundle from his home, gave it the shape of a book and tied it up. Then, he went to the court and announced that he was ready to argue against the pundit but on the condition that the topic of their debate would be based on the great book ‘Thilakashta Mahisha Bandhanam.’ The great pundit was stumped when he heard this because he had never heard of any such book. He asked the king to give him one night’s time to prepare for the argument. He was sleepless all night. He could not bear the thought of losing so he took all his belongings and left the city before sunrise. He left a note for the king saying that he had never heard of the great book.

The next day, at the appointed time Tenali appeared in court for the debate. But he was informed that the pundit had already gone away. The king being a learned man wanted to read the great book that Tenali had mentioned, so he asked Tenali about it. Tenali laughed and replied that there was no such book called ‘Thilakashta Mahisha Bandhanam’. Inside the bundle, there was til which is called Thila in Sanskrit and some sheep dung which in Sanskrit is known as Kashta. These contents were tied by a rope made of buffalo’s hide which is called Mahisha. Bandhanam refers to ‘tying’ in Sanskrit.

This is how Tenali tricked the pundit into believing that there was a great book that the pundit was completely unaware of. The king appreciated Tenali’s intelligence and rewarded him.

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

Who decided a year should have 12 months?

People across the world follow the Gregorian calendar.

The world converted to the Gregorian calendar in 1752. Otherwise different people around the world followed different calendars. Infact people who do agriculture and farming, still use a combination of solar and lunar calendars.

Who came up with the 12 month calendar?

The 12 months in the calendar, as we know them today, were first introduced by Julius Caesar, in the year 45 BC, on 1st January.

How many months were in the original calendar?

The calendar used previously consisted of 10 months. But it couldn’t account for the cyclic revolution of the earth around the sun, which takes exactly 365.2422 days.

The 10 month calendar

The previous Roman calendar, began the year in March and ended it in December. It had been in use from 753 BC, by Romulus, the legendary first king of Rome.

This calendar was later modified because it accounted for only 304 days in a year.

Who started the leap year?

The second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius added two months at the end of the calendar, Ianuarius and Februarius, to account for the missing days. He also introduced an intercalary month that occured after Februarius in certain years. These years became known as leap years. In addition, he deleted one day from all the months that had 30 days, so that they had 29 days instead.

Around for 700 years!

This resulted in a total of 355 days in a common year and 377 days in a leap year. The leap years were declared at the whim of the king. Although unstable, the calendar was in use for 700 years.

But it got very confusing because seasons and calendars did not match. It played havoc with the farmers.

So Julius Caesar, in 45 BC, under the guidance of his astronomers, decided to alter the calendar and make it more stable. Finally, the seasons had a chance to catch up!

For sixteen centuries!

When did we switch to the Gregorian calendar?

The same calendar had been in use since 1752, when the Gregorian calendar was adopted all over the world, to synchronise it to the English and American Colonies. The world and its boundaries had expanded quite a bit, from Caesar’s times! The Gregorian calendar fixed the Julian calendar error of calculating one revolution of the earth around the sun to take 365.2422 days, into account.

So, there you have it! It was originally Julius Caesar, who initiated the 12 months we have in the calendar today!

Why cleaning your room is important?

Keep your room clean and organized!

We all have days when we feel a little dis – organised. But sometimes a few days of being dis – organised can become a bad habit. Soon, we start becoming messy, and start creating a messy environment around us. We misplace things or even allow them to get spoilt. What do you think? Would you like to visit a friend’s house and see a messy room. An unkempt bed, leftover food, or all their books all over the place. Obviously, no!

So let’s keep our rooms organised and clean. Because we like coming back to a clean room!

Coley: Why would you need binoculars in your own room Bumbley?
Bumbley: Don’t disturb me. I am trying to concentrate here.
Coley: Concentrate?? For what?
Bumbley: Can’t you see? I am looking for an assignment I need to submit in school today.
Coley: Oh okay. Wait. I am gonna ask again. Why do you need binoculars for that??
Bumbley: How else do I find it in here!
Coley: Keeping your room clean would be a better start, no?
Bumbley: I keep hearing this from mom. Now, you don’t start!
Coley: Okay.
Bumbley: No, wait! Help me find this assignment. It is very important for my school report.
Coley: I will. But on one condition. Start keeping your room clean.
Bumbley: I do try. But somehow it ends up being messy. How do I keep it clean??
Coley: By putting back every item where you took it from. That way you won’t create a mess to clean it up later.
Bumbley: Hmm..
Coley: Keeping things organized not only helps you find something when you need it, but also saves you time and lets you think with clarity.
Hey, I found your assignment!
Bumbley: Really? And I find you awesome!

Discovery of Ink

Human beings as they evolved from prehistoric ancestors, developed many forms of communication. One of the most important tools discovered by humans, has been written communication.

He first wrote on cave walls and then stone and developed a pictorial vocabulary. As time progressed, shapes and sounds were incorporated in the written form. The earliest surviving texts from Mesopotamia dating back from 2100 BC, were written with reeds or stylus on clay tablets. These show that by then, man had developed an evolved form of writing and communication.

History of ink

It was the Chinese who are credited with first discovering ink 5000 years ago. It is still being used in that form. The liquid India Ink we use today was also discovered by the Chinese. The ink was thus named because the carbon black that was used to make the ink was sourced from India. It was the Cao Wei Dynasty (220 AD – 265 AD), who established the manufacture of India Ink.

Ink and how it is used has evolved over the years, changing colours and composition to adapt it to different needs.

Don’t Litter, Make The World Better!

Imagine it’s a beautiful summer day, and you’re out with your friends for milkshakes in the park. You finish your milkshake and look around, but there’s no trash can for your empty cup. It’s okay to just leave it underneath the park bench, right? Nobody can even see it under there, and you want to go play baseball. You don’t want to carry around this gross, sticky milkshake cup.

You might think it’s okay, but it’s not. Leaving your empty milkshake cup under the bench is littering.

What is littering?

All of you must have seen the bits of wrappers, packets, plastic bags lying all around when you go for a walk, or step outside your home. That is litter. Sometimes in small quantities it is just simply annoying. But when you have huge quantities of it, it becomes garbage and causes landfills.

Landfills, not only become eye sores but also places which become breeding places for disease causing animals and pollute the environment.

What are the effects of litter on the environment?

The litter often finds its way into drain holes and waterways, choking them. It is also carried away into our water resources, in the rainy season. Our rivers and oceans become polluted causing animals and plants to die in the water.

You must have also seen animals unknowingly eating bits of paper, or plastic thinking it is food. This harms them.

Why cleaning up our litter is expensive?

  • Sometimes when we knowingly or unknowingly throw litter, we don’t realise it might become inconvenient for someone to clean it up later. Although in cities, there are people who do go about cleaning, sometimes it is delayed. It is also expensive.
  • Every year, a city’s administration spends lots of money to clean up the city on a daily basis and dispose it off. Some of our litter is biodegradable and some of it is not. And lots of people spend time and energy to make sure our cities and town are clean and healthy for us to live.

A new word is added to the dictionary every two hours!

Em: Emma, I need to finish my English homework. Can you help me? I need to borrow your Oxford dictionary.
Emma: Sure I will help you Em, but do remind me to buy the new version of the dictionary tomorrow.
Em: New version? Isn’t a dictionary like, forever?
Emma: No it isn’t. Do you know that a new word is added to the dictionary every two hours? So if that happens every day, imagine how many words will be added to the dictionary in a year!
Em: Wow! Is that so… but where do they get hold of so many new words from?

How are new words born?

Reason: Everywhere. There can be old words or phrases which have been used and the meanings not known or new phrases or words or even slang words used today to communicate.
Emma: Oh right, I came to know that the word ‘Oompa Loompa’ from Charlie and the Chocolate factory has been added to the Oxford dictionary.
Em: ‘Oompa Loompa’? Really? Hahahaha. That’s silly!
Emma: You are silly!
Reason: She is right Em. These are not just any silly words that are added. They are added because they have a meaning or refer to something unique.
Em: That is interesting. I can’t imagine how much people who make dictionaries read!
Reason: They do read a lot! Today Oxford Dictionary is one of the largest and longest running research projects. Changes in language reflect in the day to day world… and so does in the dictionaries.
Em: Well, then let’s go get the new version of the Dictionary and then get on with the homework. Maybe we can fit in some new words too!
Emma: Oh sure! That’s likely, nincompoop.
Em: Huh?
Emma: Go get a dictionary.

Why do we have feelings?

Imagine you went home from school one day and there was a nice warm delicious pie waiting for you. It would make you happy, right?

Now imagine you went home from a bad day at school knowing there was going to be a delicious hot pie waiting for you; only to find out there is no pie. How would you feel? Probably quite sad and disappointed, right?

Happiness, contentment, love, bitterness, worry are some of many feelings we have. To understand why we have feeling, we must first understand, ‘What are feeling.’

What are feelings?

Feelings are mental associations and reactions to an emotion. They are coloured by our personal experiences and beliefs. Wait a minute. Aren’t feelings and emotions the same?

Well, they are many times used interchangeably so one might think they are the same, but the truth is that they are DIFFERENT.

What are emotions?

Emotions are involuntary bodily responses like when you’re when you go to school and come to know there is a surprise test. Your pulse increases and you feel uneasy in your stomach.

What is the difference between feelings and emotions?

On the other hand, feelings make of you aware of your emotions. So, feelings arise out of the narrative we give to the emotion. To understand this better, imagine you are sleeping peacefully at night and suddenly hear a loud knock on your bedroom door. You will instantly experience fear and your heart will beat faster. You might break into a sweat. While describing this incident to someone you will describe it as, “I felt terrified. It was really scary to imagine there might be an imposter in the house. I felt a sense of panic. ‘Terrified, scared, panic-stricken,’ are all feelings that are extension of the basic emotion of fear.

Why do we have these feelings and emotions?

  • So, one might wonder, WHY do we have these feelings? Isn’t life complicated enough with so many emotions.
  • Well, feeling might sometimes seem like a burden when they grow intense, like the feeling of grief or distress when you lose or break your favourite toy or when your beloved pet gets hurt.
  • But feelings are important as without them we would not have been able to build and accomplish our goals. Without care, wonder, expectation and a sense of pride; we wouldn’t have developed as a society.
  • Even animals have emotion. Think about a deer caught in headlight. It does experience fear. But it stops there. There is no feeling of horror as animals don’t have the symbolism of language and the sense to rationalize to turn that emotion into a feeling.
  • So, if we didn’t have feelings, we would be no different from animals. It is the ability to reason about the past and future and to have feelings that give way to action that has allowed us to dominate the food chain. It has helped us shape the world for our future through inventions and discoveries and the will to survive.
  • So, the next time you feel distressed or perplexed, know that the feeling is what makes you human and it will eventually pass.

Discovery of Magnets

Who discovered magnets?

Legend has it that magnets were discovered accidentally by a Greek shepherd named Magnes. While tending his sheep in a region of northern Greece called Magnesia, the shepherd took a step and suddenly found that the metal tip of his shoe was stuck on a rock he was standing on. Puzzled, he began digging and discovered the first recorded lodestone. It is said that since then Lodestone started getting known as “magnetite”, probably named after Magnes or Magnesia.

Although the term lodestone comes from the Anglo-Saxon meaning “leading stone”

How were magnets first used?

The first documented use of magnets has been for a compass. Between the years 1405 and 1433, Zheng He of Yunnan province mentioned the use of a compass with a magnetic needle as he recorded his voyages across seven oceans.

Although it is argued that the earliest understanding of magnet as a guide in a compass for seamen was recorded in 1180 by an Englishman Alexander Neckam.

And by 1820, the Dutch scientist Hans Christian Oersted discovered the relationship between electricity and magnets which a year later French physicist Andre Ampere expanded it further.

Electromagnetism is used in all kind of electronic devices we use today, e.g. Hard disk drives, speakers, motors and generators. They are also used for MRI machines to take pictures of your body parts to detect any health issue!

Say please and thank you! – Social Etiquette

Do you get upset if someone takes something from you and doesn’t bother to say a ‘thank you’ to you? Or do you have friends who constantly expect you to do something, without requesting or even using the word ‘please’?

What is a social etiquette?

So what is a social etiquette? It is important that when we interact with other people, that we follow basic manners and courtesy, so as not to cause discomfort. This is known as social etiquette.

Why is it important to have social etiquettes?

By saying Please and Thank yous when asking and receiving something from some one, we make positive impressions.

  1. Manners and courtesy allow us to be nice to people.
  2. We develop respect and trust people who display social etiquettes.
  3. We let the people we interact with, know we respect the time and effort they give to us.
  4. When we are kind and courteous, we are not only being nice to others but also to ourselves.
  5. Through good manners, we can create a happy environment for others and ourselves.

What Rhymes with Orange, Silver, Purple, and Month?

There is no word in the English language that rhymes with orange, month, silver or purple

Emma: Yummy! This orange is so sweet…it makes such a delightful treat! Try one Em.

Em: Hey! You just made two words rhyme! Sweet and treat…can you see it or are you in dilemma Emma?

Emma: Happy to make my name rhyme? By the way, do you know any words in English that do not rhyme at all?

Em: Are there any such words? I always thought every word has some rhyming word in English language.

Words with no rhyming words

Emma: Yes but only four have none. No word in the English language rhymes with orange, month, silver, and purple.

Em: really? Let me think… Orange!!!!!! Hmmmm….Gorange….Florange….torange!!

Reason: Hahaha… those are not even words. A perfect rhyme demands the exact match of the way the word sounds from the stretched vowel to the last alphabet. Example: hat/cat, plate/eight, later/alligator.

Em: Come to think of it. Did you notice that 3 of the words that do not rhyme are the names of colours?

Reason: Yes and the fourth word that does not have a rhyme is ‘month’. You can’t even fake rhyme for this word. Dunth? Hunth? Bonth? Nothing rhymes with it!

Em: Hmm..Let’s write a poem with these four words. We can make up our own words which rhyme with them!

Emma: Oh sounds like fun to me!

Do Dragons exist?

What exactly are dragons?

Stories of Dragons have existed since the time stories were told. Dragons generally are said to have wings, scales, and claws and breathe fire. They are also thought be majestic creatures of mystery and Magic.

Different cultures have varying stories about dragons

  • The Greek called them serpents of the sea and the first mention of the word Greek word δράκων pronounced drakon is from the Iliad by Homer.
  • The Europeans early on thought of them as sea creatures and had maps depicting them waiting to eat unsuspecting sailors at the edge of the earth
  • Generally, the dragons were thought of as bringers of destruction and terror often depicting them as hoarders of treasure or maidens or both
  • At the other side of the planet the Japanese, Koreans and Chinese revered and worshipped them as mythical creatures who brought wisdom, prosperity and good luck.
  • Japanese ones are water deities and celestial beings associated with rainfall and bodies of water and are typically depicted as large, wingless, serpentine creatures with clawed feet.
  • Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, typhoons, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck for people who are worthy of it. With this, the Emperor of China usually used the dragon as a symbol of his imperial power and strength.

Has there been proof that dragons existed?

  1. Well, ancient people may have discovered dinosaur fossils and understandably misinterpreted them as the remains of dragons. Chang Qu, a Chinese historian from the 4th century B.C., mislabeled such a fossil and gave credibility to the myth of dragons.
  2. A Stegosaurus, was a giant beasts 30 feet in length and typically 14 feet tall and were covered in armored plates and spikes for defense.
  3. Even in a small town of Austria they mistook the skeleton of the ancient Rino and called it Dragons, A Statue of a Dragon still stands in the Middle of the town square
  4. Humans usually try to find meaning in things they can’t explain.
  5. The closest thing we can call to actual Dragons is the KOMODO Dragon, not entirely a dragon but fearsome anyway.
  6. So we know now that Dragons are fictional but as they say, there is no smoke without fire.

Coughing and sneezing etiquette

If you can’t completely separate you and your child during a minor cold, learning cough and sneeze etiquette at least helps.

How to cough and sneeze to avoid spreading germs?

Teaching your child to cough and sneeze into their shoulder or elbow instead of directly into hands (which then touch other things, and further spread the germs) is just one way to go.

Similarly, blowing one’s nose has some etiquette involved, too. Even with a handkerchief or tissues, some germs are blown into the air. And being as loud and honking as possible is definitely not the point! In addition, washing hands and/or use of antibacterial hand gel immediately after blowing one’s nose is critical to help stop the spread of germs.

What is the correct way to sneeze or cough in public?

  1. Turn away from people when coughing or sneezing to avoid contaminating others.
  2. Cover your mouth or nose with your left hand to keep your right hand germ free.
  3. If you are in a crowd of people and cannot turn to avoid coughing or sneezing directly at someone, cough or sneeze downward, directly in front of you.
  4. Always carry a tissue or handkerchief to cover your mouth or nose.
  5. If you are having a coughing or sneezing episode, excuse yourself from the room until it subsides.

Discovery of light

What is light?

Electromagnetic radiation is a form of energy. Radio waves, microwaves, X-rays and gamma rays are some of the forms of electromagnetic radiation. Sunlight is also a form of electromagnetic energy, but visible light is only a small portion of the spectrum, which contains a broad range of electromagnetic wavelengths.

Who discovered light?

Aristotle was responsible for one of the first theories of light. He stated that, “The essence of light is white light. Colors are made up of a mixture of lightness and darkness.” However, It was Sir Isaac Newton who conducted several experiments to understand light. And how light is composed of several wavelengths. In his book, Optiks, Newton describes how he used prisms to disassemble and reassemble light.

Wavelength of visible light

Visible light falls in the spectrum between infra red and ultra violet, the wavelengths easily visible to the human eye. Violet has the shortest wavelength, at around 380 nanometers, and red has the longest wavelength, at around 700 nanometers.

How do we perceive color?

Cone-shaped cells in our eyes act as receivers tuned to the wavelengths in this narrow band of the spectrum. Other portions of the spectrum have wavelengths too large or too small and energetic for the biological limitations of our perception.

Sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick – Tongue Twister

The most difficult tongue twister in English language is “sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick”

Em: Hey Emma I bet you can’t say ‘babbling, bumbling band of baboons’ really fast 5 times!

Emma: You really want to play tongue twister? Then try saying a real one. How about ‘Betty Botter bought some butter, but the butter was bitter so Betty bought a better butter to make the bitter butter taste better!

Em: Hey! I know, I read somewhere about the most difficult tongue twister in English language…something with six….ummmm

Emma: Sixth…sick…sheik’s….sixth…. sheep’s….sick! Man! it is so difficult…see how long I have to pause after each word.

Em: I will have to write it down to even say it!

Reason: You sure do. ‘Sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick’ is considered as the hardest tongue twister by Guinness Book of World Records. It is extremely difficult to say this string of words quickly multiple times. It may not make much sense, but then tongue twisters are just a string of silly words put together to exercise your tongue. Why don’t you try again?

Em: Sixth.sick..sixt..sorry..sheik’s…this one will surely twist my tongue! I am happy with my bumbling baboons.

Why is oral health important?

Why is it so important to take care of your teeth?

Taking care of your teeth since childhood goes a long way. You will thank yourself when you could enjoy a piece of chocolate or any delicious fruit even at the age of 70 yrs.

Here are some easy ways to improve your oral health

  1. Brush your teeth along with the gum line twice a day with an ADA (accepted fluoride toothpaste) to remove plaque – the sticky film on teeth which is the main cause of tooth decay.
  2. Eat a well-balanced diet that limits starchy or sugary foods, which produce plaque acids that cause tooth decay.
  3. Drink plenty of water.
  4. Limit sugary foods which contribute towards the tooth decay.
  5. Have regular visits to the dentist.
  6. Wear a mouth-guard during contact sports or activities where there is risk of injury to the face.

English is the official language of the sky!

Emma: Hey Em! How was your trip to Dubai? I want to know everything about it.

Em: It was so much fun. I did not want to come back.

Emma: So did you learn some Arabic words?

Em: Not really! Everyone seemed to understand and speak English. We heard some Arabic during the flight but it was soon spoken in English as well.

Emma: Well, English does seem to be the official language all over the world. Plus, English is the official language of the sky! It doesn’t matter which country they are from, all pilots speak in English on international flights.

Em: Yeah? So even if I go to… say… Africa?

Emma: Of course silly! English is the language that is understood and learnt by almost everyone, all over the world.

Why English is considered the language of the skies?

Reason: That’s true. These days the skies are so busy that accurate communication is most important. Communication lapses and errors can occur if different languages are used for different zones. So, English is officially used in the aviation industry worldwide to avoid any miscommunication.

Em: That makes so much sense. Imagine if I pilot a plane to Africa from India and I communicate with them in Hindi, they wouldn’t understand a thing and may not let me land!

Emma: You got that! Now tell me about your trip and show me all your fun pictures.

Reason: Me too!

Why does time seem to pass at different speeds?

Time has always fascinated man. Early civilisations first divided the day based on light and dark. They constructed sun dials to calculate the movement of the sun and hence time. As thinking and understanding progressed, days were divided into hours and minutes and seconds, even nano seconds.

But did you think, how time sometimes goes by really fast or really slow? And how you cannot measure it in hours or minutes?

Have you noticed how…
Time sometimes seems to go by really fast
And sometimes really slow

So, does time move at different speeds?

Time always moves one second per second.

It moving slow or fast depends on how your brain experiences it.

Time or your experience of it slows down when you encounter a boring moment. When you are not doing anything in particular, boredom draws your attention to time and gives you the feeling of time slowing down.

Time tends to fly when you are experiencing fun moments and do not think about time or pay any attention to it. The amount of time you have spent might be the same as a boring moment you’ve had earlier but you have so much fun that you do not realise how time passed by.

So times doesn’t fly or stand still. Time always continues at the same speed. It is your experience of time that makes it seem to go by slow or fast.

Related article – Is time travel possible, according to science?

Who discovered Pi?

What is Pi?

Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. No matter what is the size of the circle, pi is always the same number. For any circle, dividing its circumference by its diameter will give you the exact same number: 3.14159…or pi.

Discovery of Pi

It is said that Pi has been known for nearly 4,000 years and was discovered by ancient Babylonians. The Great Pyramid at Giza, which was built between 2550 and 2500 BC, has a perimeter of 1760 cubits and a height of 280 cubits, which gives it a ratio of 1760/280, or approximately 2 times pi.

The earliest textual evidence of pi dates back to 1900 BC; both the Babylonians and the Egyptians had a rough idea of the value. The Babylonians estimated pi to be about 25/8 (3.125), while the Egyptians estimated it to be about 256/81 (roughly 3.16).

How did Archimedes discover it?

Archimedes was one of the first mathematicians to discover the approach to estimate a Pi. He figured out how to estimate the perimeters for polygons with twice as many sides. He went from a 6-sided polygon, to a 12-sided polygon, to a 24-sided polygon, to a 48-sided polygon, and ended up with a 96-sided polygon. This final estimate gave a range for π between 3.1408 and 3.1428, which is accurate to two places.

Early to bed and early to rise!

If you are a night owl, it is time to change your sleeping habits.

Benefits of early to bed and early to rise

An early riser reaps many benefits. Research has shown that children who go to bed early and wake up early are smarter and tend to get good grades in academics. They are more positive and can plan their day accordingly. Going early to bed gives your body that relaxation time and you wake up feeling energetic and rested. Mornings are the time when your mind is fresh and best for revisions and studying or finishing up the leftover homework. Sleeping early also keeps your immune system strong, keeping you away from the seasonal coughs and colds. When you sleep early, you are ready to take on the next day with more energy.

There are ghost words that mean nothing!

Em: Why are you sitting with such a fat book Emma? I could never read such big books.
Emma: It isn’t a book Em, it’s a dictionary, see.
Em: Oh! So, tell me which word are you looking for?
Emma: I am trying to find if there are any ghost words in it.
Em: Hahaha… did you just say ghost word? What is that? And if it is a ghost can you really find it? Does the word look scary? Ha ha.

What are ghost words?

Reason: Actually Em, you just answered your question. It is difficult to find a ghost word in a dictionary. But a ghost word is a word which doesn’t have any meaning and has been printed in the dictionary. These words are not used anywhere.
Emma: I know what Em is going to ask now..why put them in a dictionary in the first place?
Em: Exactly. Why print them if these words are not used anywhere?
Reason: Well, believe it or not…sometimes there are some words that have been printed in the dictionary due to a printing mistake or an error like typographical or linguistic confusion. There is one such fake word- dord, which made its way to Webster’s dictionary and remained there for five long years before being discovered.
Emma: There, can you see the ghosts now Em? Do they look scary to you? Eh?

How do we store and retrieve memories?

What is memory?

Memory is when something happens or when you learn something or meet someone new; your brain determines whether or not to store this information. Just like a computer that saves the data in files, your brain too saves memories in various parts or files. The human brain has different parts and each part saves data of various types.

How are memories stored and retrieved in the human brain?

Usually the brain stores memories in two ways…

Long term memory which is stored in a deeper section of the brain. The part that stores the long term memory is the hippocampus and is one of the most important parts of the brain to store and retrieve memories.

Short term memories like the room number of your hotel. Short term memories are sometimes transferred to the hippocampus based on their importance. The brain decides which type of memory is worth remembering.

How do you remember things from the past?

When some information is determined to have long term value or is worth remembering, the hippocampus links significant elements from that event or information, puts the experience together to form a permanent or long term memory.

Information that cannot be stored by the hippocampus cannot be remembered or retrieved. If the hippocampus is damaged then all memories are lost.

An emotional memory is the strongest to recall and retrieve. An excellent performance in an exam, a final dance with that someone special, a goal scored when you were about to lose are some special emotional moments that will be stored as long term memories and are easy to recall or retrieve.

Will you remember this video?

Can sitting too close to the TV damage your eyes?

While sitting too close to the TV may not permanently damage your eyesight, it sure will affect the health of your eyes in the long run. Eyestrain happens when your eyes suddenly become watery or itchy or red and you feel relaxed when you close them.

Don’t sit too close to the TV!

Modern TV sets emit very little electromagnetic radiation, but they can be damaging if viewed from an extremely close distance. Some parts of the TV emit more, while others less, frequency radiation. Since the TV’s today are large in size, sitting at a distance is always preferred to get a perfect, complete picture of what you are viewing.

Who discovered Fingerprints were unique?

What are fingerprints?

If you have looked closely at your hands, you will notice very fine lines closely placed that are either arched, whorled or in loops. All of your fingers will have a definite pattern. These are unique and only you in this entire world will own this set of fingerprints. Infact it’s one of the most foolproof ways to identify a person, that it’s even used in this age of biometric identification.

History of fingerprints

Sir William Herschel, a British Civil Servant, stationed in India in 1858, collected handprints from Indians to prevent forgeries and he discovered that each print was different.

A Scottish physician, Dr. Henry Faulds went to Japan in 1873, as a medical missionary. There he established the Tuskiji Hospital and was also the surgeon superintendent. On his stay there, he got involved in a nearby archaeological site. It was at the archaeological dig, that he observed imprints on clay pottery shards and he became interested in the science of human fingerprints.

He further observed through various experiments that the finger prints grew back the same each time, if a person accidentally lost the skin on his fingerprints.

British Scientist, Sir Francis Galton is also credited with this discovery, although it looks as if his work was based on Faulds’ research.

When were fingerprints first used to solve crimes?

It wasn’t until 1896 that a man named Edward Henry developed a classification system for identification of fingerprints. Henry divided fingerprint patterns up into five different sections. They were: Plain Arches, Tented Arches, Ulnar Loops, Radial Loops, and Whorls.

He coded these patterns and then devised a method for fingerprint mapping. His method made the identification and retrieval of fingerprint data base much easier. This system was adopted by the police of America and Europe. But it was FBI in 1920s that utilised the system and created an archive of fingerprints.

Avoid getting drenched in the rain!

Rain rain go away, come again another day, little Johnny want to play…” Well Johnny is absolutely right in asking the rain to go away, so that he can play. Getting wet in the rain might seem like a fun idea but it can cause a lot of harm. It can lead to cold, cough and fever.

How to avoid getting wet in the rain?

If you absolutely must get out in the rain, make sure to carry and wear rain gear like a good raincoat, rain shoes and umbrellas. This will prevent you from falling sick. When you are done, have a good bath with clean and warm water with a few drops of mild antiseptic. This prevents the chances of getting a cold, cough and keeps the bacteria at bay.

Another dreadful thing about rain water is, that when stagnant, it is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that cause malaria and other dreadful diseases. So, make sure you apply a mosquito repellent when you step out in the monsoon season.

It is definitely fun to prance around in the rain, especially the first rain. However, keep in mind the above warnings and precautions before you decide to have your share of fun.

What is the shortest complete sentence in the English language?

Em: Hey Emma, I was wondering what is the shortest sentence in the English Language?
Emma: I am.
Em: Haha… I know you are short but I meant a sentence in English language!
Emma: Silly you. ‘I am’ is the shortest sentence in English Language. Doesn’t have to do anything with my height!
Em: Is it?

Is I am a complete sentence?

Reason: Yes. To make a complete sentence in English you need a subject and a predicate. The sentence ‘I am’ has both- the subject- I and Predicate- am. It also expresses a complete thought. So ‘I am’ is the shortest sentence.
Emma: I read in an article that ‘Go’ is a short sentence too.
Reason: In case of ‘Go’ as a sentence, the subject is understood as it is said to either singular or plural beings. Thus by emitting ‘you’ it just becomes an ellipsis. ‘Go’ is an imperative sentence. ‘I am’ is a non-imperative short sentence.
Em: Wow! I never knew something short can be so complicated! Oh wait, Emma is a complicated girl too.
Emma: Hey! I am not short!

Discovery of Planetary Motion

Who discovered planetary motion?

In the early 1600s, Johannes Kepler created three laws of planetary motion. While it was Nicolaus Copernicus who discovered that the planets revolve around the Sun, it was Kepler who correctly defined their orbits. And this gave birth to Kepler’s first law, Law of Ellipses.

What is Law of Ellipses?

While assisting a wealthy astronomer, Tycho Brahe, Kepler was asked to define orbit of Mars. For many years, he struggled to make Brahe’s observations of the motions of Mars match up with a circular orbit which was the common conclusion by many philosophers of that time.

Through Brahe’s astronomical measurements and Kepler’s own drawings of the geometrical relationship between the Sun and Mars in various parts of the planet’s orbit, Kepler eventually discovered that planets moved faster when they were closer to the Sun. From this realization, he concluded that the orbit of Mars was elliptical, not circular.

Read food nutrition labels carefully!

Our body is all we have. But are we really aware of all that which goes inside our body?

Basics of food nutrition labels

Every packaged item of food has nutritional label behind it. They tell you what’s inside the food you’re eating and list its parts. Fresh food that doesn’t come prepackaged sometimes has nutrition facts, too.
Most nutrients are measured in grams, also written as g. Some nutrients are measured in milligrams, or mg. Milligrams are very tiny — there are 1,000 milligrams in 1 gram.

Determining the serving size

The nutrition label always lists a serving size, which is an amount of food, such as 1 cup of cereal, two cookies, or five pretzels. The label also tells you how many servings are contained in the particular package of food.

How to read food nutrition labels?

The key nutritional ingredients to look out for are the amounts of total fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium/salt.
You can refer to following proportion to understand the amount of intake that is considered to be healthy.

  • Total fat 0-3g (best), 3.1-20g (okay), 20g+ (sometimes)
  • Saturated Fat 0-1.5g (best), 0-1.6g (okay), 5g+ (sometimes)
  • Sugar 0-5g (best), 5.1-15g (okay), 15g+ (sometimes)
  • Sodium 0-120mg (best), 121-600mg (okay), 600mg+ (sometimes)

What letter starts the most words in the english language?

More English words begin with the letter ‘S’ than any other letter of the alphabet

Em: Hey Emma, now that you seem to spend so much time with that dictionary of yours, can I ask you a question?
Emma: I am enjoying my ice cream, but go ahead.
Em: Which alphabet in the English language has the most words starting with it?
Emma: Tell me which alphabet do you think it is?
Em: Well… umm….I think it is ‘E’?
Emma: I think it is ‘A’.
Reason: No, not even close. It is the alphabet ‘S’ which has more English words starting with it than any other letter. The reason being, there are more clusters of words that begin with ‘sc’, ‘sh,’, ‘sp’, or ‘st’. These clusters also act as independent words.
Emma: Hmm… Yes, now that i I think about it there are so many words with S… School, Shut, Special, String, Straight, Shun, spatula, scan…wow!
Reason: Samuel Morse, the inventor of the Morse code was the first one who had the curiosity in knowing the answer to this question. So he used his techniques of using codes to frequently used letters. Later an analysis of the concise dictionary revealed ‘S’ as the letter having most words.
Em: ‘S’ sure is a winner! Now finish your ice cream, its melting.

Don’t talk with your mouth full

Why should you not talk when your mouth is full?

You should not talk with your mouth full! It can cause choking.

What is choking?

To understand what is choking, you first need to understand what happens to the food that you eat. When you chew the food, it passes through your throat to get into your body.

The food and air travels through the same tube for a short distance until the tube divides into two tubes – the oesophagus which carries food down into the stomach, and the trachea (windpipe) which carries air to the lungs. Sometimes food slips into the windpipe – which can block the windpipe. That’s why you choke.

How to avoid choking?

  1. Make sure to chew every mouthful of food until it is small and soft enough to swallow.
  2. Sit down, take small bites, and don’t talk or laugh with your mouth full!
  3. Do not put anything in your mouth that is not food or drink.
  4. Be extra careful while eating nuts, grapes, raw carrots, popcorn, and hard or gooey candy.

Look out for the little ones

Babies and toddlers love to put things in their mouths, so help keep them safe by:

  1. Cutting up and dividing their food into small pieces.
  2. Picking up anything off the floor that might be dangerous to swallow — like deflated balloons, pen caps, coins, beads, and batteries.
  3. Never share your food or candy with a baby unless an adult says it’s OK.

What do you do when someone is choking?

If you see someone coughing while eating and going breathless, wait and see if they can cough the food up. If the person can then breathe normally, usually nothing more needs to be done – but get a grownup to check that the person is okay.

If the person is not able to breathe normally get help as soon as possible.

Can we measure beauty?

To understand if beauty is measurable, let us first understand the terms, ‘measure’ and ‘beauty’.

What is measurement?

Measurement means, to define something in a clear and precise way.

What is beauty?

Beauty refers to the quality of being pleasing, especially to look at.

What makes something or someone beautiful?

The debate on ‘What makes something or someone beautiful’ has been going on for centuries. (thinker)

Western theory of beauty

The earliest Western theory of beauty can be found in the works Greek philosopher Pythagoras who saw a strong connection between mathematics and beauty.

This was the time when It was believed that proportionate and symmetrical objects were more attractive.

This definition is still held as relevant by many, so in that manner we can say that beauty can be measured.

The question then arises of whether beauty is universal.

The painting of Monalisa by Leonardo da Vinci is considered beautiful and so is Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. What do they have in common? What makes them both beautiful despite the lack of symmetry here?

The Taj Mahal is considered beautiful and so is Beethoven’s ninth symphony. What element that could describe beauty is common here? In this case it definitely cannot be measured by math.

A combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, arrangement that pleases the senses, be it sight or sound makes something beautiful.

It is also found that people around the world find different music, visual art, performance, and physical attributes to be beautiful. It’s on the basis of those considerations that many believe that beauty is a label we attach to different sorts of experiences based on a combination of cultural and personal preferences.

So the saying, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ used to express the fact that not all people have the same opinions about what is attractive and pleasing, holds true.

Who invented clothes and how did they make them?

When were clothes invented?

The first evidence of clothes has been found to be used 100,000 years ago.

History and development of clothing

Neanderthals used to tan animal skins to clothe themselves. They used to tan buckskin, fur and inner hides by painstakingly scrapping it off and soaking it in pulverized deer brains. They then wrung, stretched and hung it to dry and smoked it to make it waterproof.
But lack of stitching tools such as needles caused them to either drape the clothes or tie it, which was not always comfortable or convenient.
It was only 30,000 years ago that simple needles were created out of animal bone which helped the early humans to sew leather and fur garments.

Exercise regularly, keep healthy!

Exercise is very important to stay active. But it does not have to be only at gym class. It can be something fun too. Playing is not just fun but also keeps you physically active.

Benefits of exercise

There are a lot of benefits from regular exercise. Kids who are active will:

  1. have stronger muscles and bones
  2. be less likely to become overweight
  3. decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  4. lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
  5. have a better outlook on life

Besides enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better. They’re also better able to handle physical and emotional challenges — from running to catch a bus to studying for a test.

The three elements of fitness

The three elements of fitness in action when kids play in the playground are:
1. Endurance: When a child is chasing or being chased by another child at play.
2. Strength: When a child crosses a monkey bar.
3. Flexibility: Bending down to tie their shoes.

Regular aerobic activity helps a child to build good endurance levels. Aerobic exercise causes the heart to beat faster and a person breathes harder. Regular aerobic activity strengthens the heart and improves the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to all its cells.

Following are some fun aerobic activities

  • basketball
  • bicycling
  • ice skating
  • soccer
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • walking
  • jogging
  • running

Improving strength doesn’t have to be only from only lifting weights instead, kids can do push-ups, stomach crunches, pull-ups, and other exercises to help tone and strengthen muscles. They also improve their strength when they climb, do a handstand, or wrestle.

Stretching exercises helps a child improve flexibility, allowing muscles and joints to bend and move easily through their full range of motion. Simplest activities like reaching out for a toy or practicing a split or doing a cartwheel are fun ways to stretch and build one’s flexibility.

Why is it called a building if it’s already built?

Why is a building called a building?

Em and Emma are having ice cream sitting on a bench. There is a construction site in the background.
Em: Emma, have you noticed how fast these builders are working? Till last month there was no building and look at this huge structure now.
Emma: Yes, and soon there will be people living in this building.
Em: Come to think of it, if a building is already built then why it is still called a building? The construction is stopped or are there invisible gnomes still building floors?
Reason: Firstly, there are no gnomes in the city. Now, it is called a building because the ‘ing’ in the English language is added to certain verbs to make them nouns. The verb ‘built’ is suffixed with ‘ing’ to make the thing a noun- Building.
Em: So Building is a noun and when it is being built it is a verb?
Reason: The act is of building it when the actual work is in progress. Building is a gerund- a noun made from a verb. Any action verb can be made a gerund. Example: Singing is my hobby or Nursing is a good career.
Em: So it is called a building to denote the process of building it?
Emma: You got that bang on Em! You are a smart boy. Here, you get sprinklers on your ice cream for that!
Em: Don’t be a smarty pant Emma.
Reason: Ok, I’ll take the sprinklers.
Em and Emma: NO!

Why is too much sugar bad for you?

How does sugar affect the body?

1. Weak Immune System –

Sugar weakens the immune system which causes Hypoglycaemia, Also known as low blood sugar, is when blood sugar decreases to below normal levels. This results in weakness and loss of energy. High sugar weakens the immune system by creating an imbalance in the digestive tract between the good and bad micro-organisms.

2. Acidity –

Maximum sugar intake causes acidity, and symptoms are –

  • Stomach pain
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Arthritis and joint pain
  • Headache etc.

3. Diabetes –

why excess of sugar is bad, the major reason behind this is Diabetes.

What do sugary drinks do to your teeth? – Science Experiment

  • Put tooth in soft drink for 24hrs, after 24hrs, we can observe decay of tooth.
  • It happens mainly due to high sugar is present in soft drink.

How to eliminate sugar from your diet?

  • Can have sugar free breakfast and Fruits, dry fruits instead of cookies or industrial snacks.
  • Can replace sugar with honey.

Tenali Raman: The King’s Condition

One day, Krishnadevaraya saw a strange dream. He dreamt of a magnificent magical palace. It was made of dazzling stones and floated in the air. The palace had every comfort and amenity that one could ever wish for. It could be lit up with a thousand lights or made to disappear into the darkness in a jiffy.

The next day when the king woke up, he vividly remembered the dream. He summoned all his courtiers and told them about it. The courtiers sang praises of the king and his beautiful dream. The king made a public announcement: “I will give a hundred thousand gold coins to the person who can build me the palace of my dream.”

Everyone was startled at the king’s announcement. They knew that it was not practically possible to build the palace that the king wanted. But no one had the courage to say so. Many of the king’s well-wishers told him that such a palace can only exist in one’s mind. But he refused to listen and threatened his courtiers with grave consequences if they did not find someone who could make his dream come true.
The courtiers got worried and approached Tenali Raman for help.

The senior minister requested Tenali Raman, “Dear Tenali, now only you can make our king understand that his wish to erect the palace of his dream is absurd or else all of us will get a severe punishment.” Tenali Raman assured them that he would try to help them.
A few days later, a very old man came to meet the king in his court. He was crying for justice.

Krishnadevaraya asked, “What brings you here my good man? Tell me without fear and I assure you that justice will be done.” “I have been robbed, Your Majesty,” wailed the old man. “Someone has taken away all my savings and now I don’t have a single paisa left.”
“Who robbed you?” asked the king angrily. “Such a crime cannot go unpunished. You name him and I will have him hanged immediately!”
Your Majesty! I will tell you but first assure me that on hearing upon his name, you will not get angry and punish me instead,” requested the old man.

Yes, I promise,” replied the king impatiently.
“It is you, my lord,” said the old man in a trembling voice.

How dare you say a ridiculous thing like that, I will…,” began the king, but then he remembered his promise and calmed down. He asked that the old man to explain what he actually meant to say.

“Your Majesty! Last night, I dreamt that you came with your entourage of ministers and soldiers and looted my entire life’s savings, five thousand gold coins!” said the old man.

“Are you a fool or completely insane?” roared the king. “How can you treat your dream as a reality? Dreams are not true!”

“But they are, Your Majesty! If your dream of a palace hanging in air can come true, why can’t my dream come true?” retorted the old man.
And then, the man took off his beard, hair and stood before the king. It was none other than Tenali Rama!

He bowed before the king and said, “Your Majesty! This was the only way of convincing you that building the palace of your dreams was not practically possible.”

Moral: If people talk foolishly, you can use their own logic to show them that they’re being illogical.

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

Mullah Nasruddin: Honest Smuggler

Nasruddin the smuggler was leading a donkey that had bundles of straw on its back. An experienced border inspector spotted Nasruddin coming to his border.

“Halt,” the inspector said. “What is your business here?”

“I am an honest smuggler!” replied Nasruddin.

“Oh, really?” said the inspector. “Well, let me search those straw bundles. If I find something in them, you are required to pay a border fee!”

“Do as you wish,” Nasruddin replied, “but you will not find anything in those bundles.”

The inspector intensively searched and took apart the bundles, but could not find a single thing in them. He turned to Nasruddin and said, “I suppose you have managed to get one by me today. You may pass the border.”

Nasruddin crossed the border with his donkey while the annoyed inspector looked on. And then the very next day, Nasruddin once again came to the border with a straw-carrying donkey. The inspector saw Nasruddin coming and thought, “I’ll get him for sure this time.”

He checked the bundles of straw again, and then searched through the Nasruddin’s clothing, and even went through the donkey’s harness. But once again he came up empty handed and had to let Nasruddin pass.

This same pattern continued every day for several years, and every day Nasruddin wore more and more extravagant clothing and jewelry that indicated he was getting wealthier. Eventually, the inspector retired from his longtime job, but even in retirement he still wondered about the man with the straw-carrying donkey.

“I should have checked that donkey’s mouth more extensively,” he thought to himself. “Or maybe he hid something in the donkey’s rectum.”

Then one day he spotted Nasruddin’s face in a crowd. “Hey,” the inspector said, “I know you! You are that man who came to my border everyday for all those years with a donkey carrying straw. Please, sir, I must talk to you.”

Nasruddin came towards him and the inspector continued talking. “My friend, I always wondered what you were smuggling past my border everyday. Just between you and me, you must tell me. I must know. What in the world were you smuggling for all those years? I must know!”

Nasruddin simply replied, “donkeys.”

For other interesting stories for kids, go to: Stories for Kids.

What are homonyms?

Homonyms meaning and examples

Em: We are running out of popcorn. We need to get some more.

Emma: I need change.

Em: You can’t just want change. “You need to BE the change you want to see.” That’s what Mahatma Gandhi said.

Emma: Don’t try to show off what you learnt in school yesterday, stupid. I’m talking about money. I need change for hundred bucks, to buy more popcorn.

Em: Don’t call me stupid. How am I supposed to know what you are talking about when ‘change’ and ‘change’ mean the same thing!

Emma: Use your brain. If I say I’ve lost my bat, are you going to think I’m talking about my pet bat? A flying mammal that hangs upside down at night?!

Em: Of course not! I’m not dumb. I know you are too lame to have a cool pet like a bat.

Emma: Who are you calling lame?!?

Reason: Stop fighting you guys. The words you are talking about like ‘bat’ and ‘bat’ and ‘change’ and ‘change’ are homonyms. These words are spelled the same and pronounced the same, but have different meanings. Anyone who is familiar with the English language will know what the word means by putting it in context.

Em: Woah! imagine the confusion of someone trying to learn the language for the first time!

Reason: True. It can get problematic.

Emma: The only problem I see is, we still don’t have enough popcorn and I still don’t have change.

Benefits of eating watermelon

What makes watermelon a cool fruit?

Apart from being delicious, watermelons are a great summer fruit you can enjoy to beat the heat. They also have some amazing health benefits which are as follows:

6 Amazing health benefits of watermelon

1. Hydration :-

Watermelon has a 92% of water content. This makes it hydrating and helps you feel full.

2. Nutrients :-

Watermelon contains, vitamin A, E, C, Lycopene which gives a red colour and is linked to many health benefits. Watermelon is a low-calorie fruit high in some nutrients, especially carotenoids, vitamin C and cucurbitacin E.

3. Potential to prevent cancer :-

Some compounds in watermelon, including cucurbitacin E and lycopene, have been studied for their potential to prevent cancer.

4. Good heart health :-

Watermelon has several heart-healthy components, including lycopene, citrulline and other vitamins and minerals.

5. Good skin and hair :-

Several nutrients in watermelon are good for hair and skin. while others protect against sunburn.

6. Healthy digestion :-

Fibre and water are important for healthy digestion. Watermelon contains both.

Why are you ‘In’ a movie but ‘On’ a television?

Why do we say “in” a movie but “on” a TV show?

Em: Emma, did you see Johnny Depp on Alice through the looking glass? I found the movie very interesting.
Emma: Yes it was good. But Johnny Depp was ‘in’ the movie not ‘on’.
Em: Really? I thought it was ‘on’ like ‘on’ television.
Emma: No silly. A movie is like a book. You can be ‘in’ a book or ‘in’ a movie. A television is a physical object and you can be ‘on’ a television.
Em: Haha! Am I sitting ‘on’ the television?
Emma: Very funny! When you are watching television, you are watching pictures displayed ‘on’ the television screen. But a movie is not an object. It is a collection of information or a story and the characters are all ‘in’ a movie.
Reason: That’s right. It all started before the invention of movies or television. People used to act in plays, on a stage- Stage plays. Another reason can be that television shows are ongoing but movies are not. Thus, you are ‘on’ an ongoing television show but you are ‘in’ a movie.
Em: Huh! Now I am confused as to what is going ‘on’ ‘in’ my mind!

If you own land, how far above and below do you own?

When you buy a piece of land, it is of common understanding that you are given unrestricted access to a predetermined amount of land.

But how much of that land do you own? Do you own the sky above it? How about the land below it?

“Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos”  A Latin maxim which is considered to be a traditional starting point to the property law states, “whoever owns the soil, holds title all the way up to the heavens and down to the depths of hell“.

So yes, historically, if you owned a piece of land, you owned everything, both above and below the soil from the deepest reaches of the Earth right up to the heavens themselves.

What is land ownership?

But property laws today have come a long way. Now, they vary from country to country.
As a property owner, one only has a right to the airspace above their land located in lower stratum, the precise boundaries for which is still up for debate.

For example, one can’t ask commercial planes to stop flying over their house, because the sky is considered to be a public highway. At the same time, there have been cases where trespassers have been fined to use the airspace above one’s house.

The most famous case of this kind comes from 1945 when a chicken farmer sued the US government for flying approximately 83 feet above his property. The noise of the airplane caused a bunch of his chickens to accidentally kill themselves by running into walls. The farmer won his case and the court agreed that although a property owner wasn’t entitled to own all the air above their land, they were entitled to own enough so that planes flying overhead wouldn’t kill their chickens.

And what about the earth below our land?

Just like the airspace, this varies. This depends upon, whether one has mineral rights along with ownership of land.

For example, if a home-owner finds out that there is a huge deposit of gas under their home but they don’t have any mineral right under their land then they can stake no claim over the gas deposit.

So, one can say if you own a piece of land, you may own more than you’d expect, but in a lot of cases, perhaps lesser than you might wish.

Tenali Raman: Tenali Raman and the three dolls

Here’s another great story about Tenali Raman.

The great king Krishna Deva Raya had a lot of wise ministers in his court. The wisest of them was Tenali Rama. One day, a merchant came to the king’s court from a foreign kingdom. He saluted the king and then said, “Your Majesty, I have heard from many people that you have very wise ministers in your court. But with your permission, I would like to test the wisdom of your ministers.” This aroused the king’s interest and he gave the merchant his permission. The merchant gave the king three dolls that looked identical. He said, “Though these dolls look similar, they are different in some way. If your ministers can find out the difference, I will bow to their wisdom. But if they can’t, I will assume that there are no wise ministers in your court. I will be back in thirty days for the answer.”

The king asked all of his ministers except Tenali Rama to assemble. He gave them the three dolls and told them to find the difference in them in three days’ time. But at the end of three days, none of the ministers could figure out the difference. The king got worried and called Tenali Rama. He said to him, “Tenali, I did not summon you before because I thought that this problem will be too simple. But since no one has been able to find the solution, it is up to you now. Find the difference between these dolls.” Tenali took the three dolls and went away.

The problem proved difficult for Tenali too, but at last, after a lot of effort, he figured out the difference. He went to the court with the three dolls on the day that the merchant had to return. Then, he announced in front of the whole court that he had found the difference between the dolls. He said, “These three dolls are different because one of them is good, one average and one bad.” When everyone asked Tenali that which doll was which, he showed them a tiny hole that was present in the ears of each of the dolls. Then, he took a very thin wire and put it in the hole of the first doll’s ear. The wire came out from the doll’s mouth. He did the same with the second doll and the wire came out from the doll’s other ear. In the third doll, the wire went to the heart and did not come out.

Tenali Rama explained, “In the first doll, the wire went in through the ear and came out through the mouth. So, this doll is bad as it represents people who cannot keep a secret. In the second doll, the wire came out of the other ear. So, it is average and represents harmless people who do not understand what is said to them. The third doll, in which the wire went to the heart and did not come out, represents good people who will keep the secret that you tell them.”

The king, the merchant and all the courtiers were very impressed with Tenali’s wise answer. Then Tenali said, “But there can be another explanation too. The first doll represents people who gain knowledge and spread it among others, so it is good. The second doll represents people who do not understand what they are taught, so it is average. The third doll represents people who have knowledge but keep it all to themselves. They do not teach anyone anything and so they are bad people.

The king was even more impressed. He asked, “Can there be any other explanation?” Can you think of a third explanation to answer the king?

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

African Folk Tales: Why Anansi has eight thin legs

A very long time ago, there lived a spider and his wife in a village. The spider was called Anansi. Though Anansi’s wife was an excellent cook, nevertheless he loved tasting food cooked by others in the village.

One day, while his wife was busy ......

A very long time ago, there lived a spider and his wife in a village. The spider was called Anansi. Though Anansi’s wife was an excellent cook, nevertheless he loved tasting food cooked by others in the village.

One day, while his wife was busy cooking lunch, he went out for a walk. On his way he visited the rabbit’s house. “Oh,the greens in your pot look amazing!” Anansi said staring into the pot in which the rabbit was cooking his food. “Oh, they are almost done; if you wait for a while you can have lunch with me,” the rabbit said. Anansi knew that if he stayed back the rabbit would ask him to help out in the house work. Anansi thought for a while and said, “Actually, I have some work to finish, but I can come back for lunch. I can spin a web and tie one end of it to your pot and the other to one of my legs. As soon as the food is cooked, you can tug on my web and I will come back immediately.” The rabbit liked the idea and agreed to do so.

Anansi started walking again. He could smell the aroma of deliciously cooked beans. “Ah, I can smell beans. They must taste lovely,” Anansi said while stopping at the monkey’s place. The monkey welcomed Anansi and said, “Please come and have some; they will be done in a minute or two.” “Oh thank you, Father Monkey. I will come back soon,” Anansi replied and suggested that he should tie one end of his web to the beans pot and one end around his leg. The monkey agreed to give him a tug. Anansi started walking again.

“Oh,this is the most amazing sweet potato that I have ever smelled! I can also smell honey!” Anansi exclaimed. The hog who was cooking the potatoes offered him some. Anansi suggested the same idea to him and he too agreed to it.

Anansi visited a few more places and, by the time he reached the river, he had one web tied to each of his eight legs.

Anansi was thinking about all the food that he was about to eat when suddenly he felt a tug on one of his legs. “This must be the rabbit,” Anansi said and just when he was about to leave, he felt another tug, and then another one. By now he was being pulled from four different directions. Soon, one by one,h is other four legs also started feeling the pressure of the pulls. The pull continued and he felt the stretch on all his eight legs. The animals continued to pull and Anansi’s legs started stretching, becoming thinner and thinner. Anansi jumped into the river to save himself from the pain. After all the webs were washed out, he slowly climbed out of the river.

“Oh God,this was certainly not a great idea,” Anansi said. Since that day, the spider has had eight thin legs.

Anansi, however, did not manage to get any food that day.

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

Read here 19 Interesting Facts about Spiders.