The late Madhaviah Krishnan born in Tirunelveli on June 30, 1912, was a pioneering Indian wildlife photographer, writer and naturalist. He studied in the Tirunelveli Hindu High School and developed an interest in literature, art and nature. In his article ‘A Bird Emblem for India‘ published in 1961, says that a decision was made to select a bird as the national emblem of India at a meeting of the Indian Board for Wildlife held in Ootacammund. The Swan, the Peacock, the Sarus crane, the Brahminy kite, and the Bustard were considered against the following criteria for the bird to be declared ‘national’:
It must be well distributed within the country.
It must be recognizable to the average person.
It must lend itself to the formal depiction, i.e., abstract depiction on Government publications, etc.
It must not be confused with the bird emblem of any other nation.
It must be associated with Indian myths and legends and represented in ancient Indian art and sculpture.
The choice was the peacock and was declared the “National Bird of India”.
Now, to the bane of India, we have the following declaration from Mahesh Chandra Sharma, a so-called eminent Judge of the Rajasthan High Court judge, before his retirement on June 1, 2017:
“Peacocks don’t have sex. The peacock is a lifelong brahmachari (celibate). It never has sex with the peahen. The peahen gets impregnated after swallowing the tears of the peacock.”
What would this ‘eminent and keen observing‘ judge of the Rajasthan High Court say if he sees this video?
Time is what a clock reads. In classical, non-relativistic physics it is a scalar quantity and, like length, mass, and charge, is usually ascribed as a fundamental quantity. Mathematically, time is combined with other physical quantities to derive concepts such as motion, kinetic energy and time-dependent fields.
Around 1602, Galileo Galilei studied pendulums and discovered isochronism, the key property that makes pendulums useful to timekeepers. He found that the period of swing of a pendulum is approximately the same for differently sized swings. From his findings, Galileo in 1637 had the idea for the construction of a pendulum clock, which was partly constructed by his son in 1649, but neither lived to finish it.
The above is a drawing is probably the first design for a pendulum clock designed by Galileo around 1641. Part of the front supporting plate is removed by the artist to show the wheelwork. Although the source says the drawing is by Galileo, it is undoubtedly the one drawn by his student Vincenzo Viviani in 1659, since Galileo was blind by the time he had the idea.
This pendulum clock was partly constructed by his son Vincenzo Galilei, the illegitimate son of Galileo Galilei and his mistress Marina Gamba in 1649 who was later legitimated by his father in 1619, but neither lived to finish it.
In 1656, the Dutch scientist and inventor Christiaan Huygens, inspired by the investigations of pendulums by Galileo invented the pendulum clock. He patented his clock on June 16, 1657.
The Meter is a metric measurement slightly longer than a yard; thus, a 100-meter dash might take you a second longer than a 100-yard dash. – Definition of Meter by Merriam-Webster.
1 metre ≈ 1.0936 yard or 39.370 inches.
A seconds pendulum is a pendulum whose period is precisely two seconds; one second for a swing in one direction and one second for the return swing, a frequency of 1/2 Hz. Christiaan Huygens had observed that length as 38 Rijnland inches or 39.26 English inches; that is, 997 mm.
In 1660, Christopher Wren suggested the use of the seconds pendulum to define length to the Royal Society. In 1668, John Wilkins, an English cleric and philosopher in an essay proposed the adoption of a decimal-based unit of length using the universal measure or standard based on a seconds pendulum. However, the Royal Society took no official action on these suggestions.
During the French Revolution that lasted 10 years from 1789 to 1799, the French Academy of Sciences charged a commission with determining a single scale for all measures. On October 7, 1790, that commission advised adopting the decimal system, and on March 19, 1791, advised adopting the term mètre (Greek “measure”), a basic unit of length, which they defined as equal to one ten-millionth of the distance between the Earth’s equator and the North Pole through Paris, thus making the kilometre 1/10,000 of this distance.
In 1793, the French National Convention adopted the proposal. The use of metre in English began at least as early as 1797.
The metre (British spelling and BIPM spelling) or meter (American spelling) from the French unit mètre, derived from the Greek noun μέτρον (“measure”) is the base unit of length in some metric systems, including the International System of Units (SI). The SI unit symbol is m.
In 1799, the metre was redefined in terms of a prototype metre bar. However, it was later determined that the first prototype metre bar was short by about 200 micrometres because of miscalculation of the flattening of the Earth, making the prototype about 0.02% shorter than the original proposed definition of the metre. Regardless, this length became the French standard and was progressively adopted by other countries in Europe.
The main problem with defining the length standard by an artefact such as the meter bar is that there is no sure way to determine if it has changed length due to age, deterioration, or misuse. It can be compared to other bar standards, but these may have changed length themselves.
In the 1870s and in light of modern precision, a series of international conferences were held to devise new metric standards. The Metre Convention (Convention du Mètre) of 1875 mandated the establishment of a permanent International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM: Bureau International des Poids et Mesures) in Sèvres, France. This new organisation was to construct and preserve a prototype metre bar, distribute national metric prototypes, and maintain comparisons between them and non-metric measurement standards.
The BIPM made 30 prototype standard bars of 90% platinum–10% iridium alloy. One of the bars was selected as the International Meter. In 1889 at the first General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM: Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures), the International Prototype Metre was established as the distance between two lines on a standard bar composed of an alloy of 90% platinum and 10% iridium, measured at the melting point of ice.
The Prototype Metre bars had a modified X cross-section named for the French scientist, Henri Tresca, who proposed it.
After selecting the bar for use as the International Prototype Meter, the other bars were calibrated relative to it and were given to nations to serve as their national standards.
The United States received the National Prototype Meter Bar No. 27, and No. 21 in 1890. The US adoption of the metric system in 1893 made the meter the fundamental length standard of the US, and No. 27 became the primary national standard for all length measurements.
Now, this original international prototype of the metre is now in the collection of the NIST Museum, Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, because in 1960 the SI changed the standard of length to define the meter by the wavelength of light of a spectral line of krypton 86.
Secreted in the ear canal of humans and other mammals is a grey, orange, or yellowish waxy substance known by the medical term cerumen, which is more commonly known as earwax. Earwax consists of shed skin cells, hair, and the secretions of the ceruminous and sebaceous glands of the outside ear canal. Major components of earwax are long chain fatty acids, both saturated and unsaturated, alcohols, squalene, and cholesterol.
Earwax protects the ear from dust, foreign particles, and has antimicrobial properties that protect the skin of the human ear canal. It assists in cleaning and lubrication, of the ear canal and provides some protection against microorganisms such as some strains of bacteria, fungi, and from insects. It also protects the ear canal skin from irritation due to water.
In normal circumstances, excess wax finds its way naturally out of the canal and into the ear opening and thenwashed away. Some people are prone to produce too much earwax which doesn’t automatically lead to blockage. At times, when our glands make more earwax than necessary, it may get hard and block the ear. Excess or compacted cerumen can press against the eardrum or block the outside ear canal or hearing aids, potentially causing hearing loss.
Frequent use of earphones might cause wax buildup and can inadvertently cause blockages by preventing earwax from coming out of the ear canals.
Movement of the jaw helps the ears’ natural cleaning process. The American Academy of Otolaryngology discourages earwax removal unless the excess earwax is causing problems.
We should take great caution when trying to treat earwax buildup at home. When we clean our ears, we can accidentally push the wax deeper, when using cotton swabs, bobby pins, or other objects in our ear canal causing a blockage. So, in a way, the wax buildup is a common reason for a temporary hearing loss.
If the problem of hearing loss persists, it is advisable to visit a doctor.
Synthetic plastics are a relatively new invention. For hundreds of years, people had been using organic plastics in some form or another. For example, in Medieval Europe, animal horns that had been scraped thin and flattened were used to make translucent windows. Another common plastic derived from natural sources are natural gum rubbers, which was later vulcanized and popularized by Charles Goodyear. As technology progressed, more natural plastics were used to create more products.
Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug on trees in countries like India and Thailand. In the early 20th century, to insulate early electronic devices, the dawning electronics industries in America and Europe were importing shellac by the shipload which was quite costly. So, many companies were looking for cheap alternatives.
In 1907, Leo Henricus Arthur Baekeland (November 14, 1863 – February 23, 1944), a Belgian chemist working in New York, best known for the inventions of Velox photographic paper in 1893, made an extensive study of natural polymers such as the shellac he was attempting to replace. By combining phenol and formaldehyde he created polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride, a completely synthetic polymer. By subjecting this synthetic polymer to pressure in moulds to force the air bubbles out, he created a smooth and hard plastic – the pervasive early 20th-century plastic called Bakelite, an inexpensive, nonflammable and versatile plastic, which marked the beginning of the modern plastics industry. He has been called “The Father of the Plastics Industry” for the invention of Bakelite.
Bakelite being resistant to electricity, heat, and chemicals, quickly found its way into a countless number of applications. Bakelite has been used to form the bodies of consumer electronics, insulating wires, parts for firearms, brake pads, camera bodies, and importantly the iconic black Bakelite telephones, and more.
At one point during metal shortages created by World War II, the United States government even considered making coins using Bakelite.
The 182 metres Statue of Unity, a memorial to Sardar Patel, is situated on Sandhu island of Narmada river, an islet in Kevadiya and is touted as the world’s tallest statue. This statue was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the 143rd birth anniversary of freedom fighter and India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The statue, constructed at a cost of Rs 2,989 crore, is now the world’s tallest and twice the size of the Statue of Liberty in New York.
But, do you know the sarpanches (headmen) of 22 villages situated near the Sardar Sarovar Dam, in an open letter having common content, addressed to Modi, wrote that he was not a welcome guest?
“These forests, rivers, waterfalls, land and agriculture supported us for generations. We survived on them. But, everything is being destroyed now and celebrations are also planned. Don’t you think its akin to celebrating someone’s death? We feel so. We, villagers, want to tell you with extreme grief that we will not welcome you on October 31, 2018; Even if you come here like an unwanted guest, you are not welcome here.”
The sarpanches alleged that people’s hard-earned money is being wasted on projects like the Statue of Unity even though several villages of the area are still deprived of basic facilities like schools, hospitals and drinking water.
“If Sardar Patel could see the mass destruction of natural resources and injustice done to us, he would cry. When we are raising our issues, we are persecuted by the police. Why you are not ready to listen to our plight?” the letter said.
Also, the local tribal leaders announced a boycott of the inauguration of the Statue of Unity on October 31, 2018, citing the destruction of natural resources due to the memorial?
During the month of October 2018, tribal activists had announced that people living in 72 villages near the dam will join the protest on October 31, 2018, by not cooking food.
Tribal leader Anand Mazgaokar said, “We have also urged tribals of the eastern belt of Gujarat, from Dang till Ambaji, to join our protest by observing bandh that day. We are confident that the entire tribal population will stand up against the injustice.”
Meanwhile, unidentified persons tore and defaced posters of Modi and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in several parts of the district a few days before the inauguration. Citing these incidents, Mazgaokar said, “It happened because locals are angry. No one provoked them. We have only given a call for bandh.”
New posters featuring tribal leader Birsa Munda were put up on way to the statue. Police have been deployed to protect these.
By the way, the Statue of Unity is open to the public from November 1, 2018, on all days of the week from 9 am to 6 pm.
Entry is free for toddlers below the age of 3, and for all others, tickets are priced at Rs 350 per person. It includes entry to the observation deck, valley of flowers, the Sardar Patel memorial, museum and audio-visual gallery, the Statue of Unity site and Sardar Sarovar dam.
There is a cheaper option as well. For a basic entry ticket, which includes a visit to the valley of flowers, the Sardar Patel memorial, museum and audio-visual gallery, the Statue of Unity site and Sardar Sarovar dam, adults are charged Rs 120. For children aged below 15, the ticket price is Rs 60.