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Chitra Padmanabhan

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Flying Granny, Courageous Climber

Where: WorldwideJune 24, 2000 : British grandma Jennifer Murray turned 60 in Calcutta some days ago. But she is no ordinary grandmother. In 1997, she entered the Guinness Book of World Records by becoming the first woman to pilot a helicopter around the world. And now she is determined to become the first solo woman to circumnavigate the world...

Why Do Horses Need Shoes?

Clip-clop, clip-clop goes a horse on the road. If you look carefully you will see that it walks on the tips of its toes - like a ballet dancer. Walking on tiptoe for a long time is difficult for us, but horses find it the easiest thing to do.The foot of a horse is divided into a toe with...

A Tale of Two Wonders

Where: USA and IndiaJune 24, 2000: In the first week of June, Indian newspapers wrote about two very different kinds of success stories. Both involved youngsters -- one 12 year old and another teenaged boy. One was in the United States, the other was in Madurai (Tamil Nadu), India. But both proved that their success had very little to...

The Chief Minister and the Butterfly

Where: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, IndiaJuly 1, 2000: Indian politicians are mighty people, especially when they are in power. Even Nature trembles before their arrogant minds. Some years ago, when India was ruled by a Congress-I government, its environment minister decided to build a guest house in Manali. Why not, you may ask. It's a nice place. But there...

Going Bananas

Where: TaiwanJuly 7, 2000: The military force of the Asian country of Taiwan was put on a very important job last week. They were ordered by the government to eat as many bananas as possible.The members of government did the same thing. They stood outside their parliament and munched bananas for a long time. Journalists from newspapers, radio...

Children’s Museum says no to Dolls, Yes to e-games

June 17: For many years, the Nehru Children's Museum in Calcutta, has been a popular place for children and adults. It has a huge collection of rare Indian and foreign toys. Many of them are handmade and depict characters from the epics of Mahabharata, the Ramayana, or the Jataka tales (or tales of the Buddha). It has toys from...

Why Do Plants Bear Fruit?

Do you like fruits? Have you ever wondered why plants produce fruits? Is it only because nature wants you to enjoy eating its fruits and sing its praises?The answer is no. Plants are much smarter than what you think they are. They actually use human beings, animals and birds who eat their fruits to propagate their kind. In other...

They Make you Swallow a Fish for a Herbal Cure

June 17: As the northwest monsoon strikes India in the first week of June, people from all parts of India, and abroad, make a beeline for Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh. They all have one thing in common: they suffer from the disease of asthma and gather in Hyderabad for a unique herbal cure. The medicine is stuffed...

Why Do Rabbits have Buck Teeth?

What is it that makes every child remember Bugs Bunny? Its toothy smile of course! All rabbits have huge buck teeth in front, and with good reason. Being vegetarians they have to make a meal of leaf, grass, or vegetable.The plants, on their part, are very smart. Over a period of time they have developed ways of protecting their...

A Soldier’s Death is a Soldier’s Death

Where: New Delhi, IndiaMay 16, 2000: Today's newspapers must have given some relief to Indian Army men. For, George Fernandes, the Defence Minister of India, has finally agreed to their demands. Their demand was that the family of every jawan, or soldier, killed in action must get the same compensation amount of Rs 1 million ($23,255) from the Government...

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What are Komodo Dragons?

European mythology abounds in stories of knights in shining armour battling fearsome dragons. Fairytale storybooks are peppered with illustrations of these huge monsters looking...

Dropping Trees from the Sky – Hydroseeding

Finally there is a simple solution to the growing problems of deforestation and the greenhouse effect - dropping millions of trees out of an...

Summer music of the trees

I always used to think that the drive across a four kilometre stretch from my house to the main road was a pain. Actually,...

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. goes down in history as one of the principal leader of the civil rights movement in the United States and...

What is the Mystery of Dracula?

As bats flap through the musty castle, a coffin lid creaks open and an ashy white hand gropes for the cover. The lid slides...