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Illiterate Americans

October 6: Last week we had written about Ganga, a teenaged girl who taught the women in her slum how to read and write. These women are not an isolated case. A very large percentage of the Indian population does not know how to read and write. In fact, the mass illiteracy of its citizens is one of the...

Language Split

November 18: The English language is believed to have caused one of Sri Lanka's leading political parties to split. How? Well, the party's leader, being a member of the upper class, spoke in English during press conferences, a language his local language-speaking cadre or party members could not fathom. This double talk of the politician caused the party members...

The Brightest of Them All

November 4: Children of Indian origin in Britain, are outperforming white children in important secondary school examinations. The British office for standards in education, Ofsted, shows that the number of Indian children passing five exams at the special Grade C level, a level corresponding to the Indian class 12, has risen from 23 per cent to 49 per cent...

Bid your Name into a Bestseller

November 4: The publishing world has come full circle. At one point of time, authors would run from publisher to publisher trying to get his/her book published. Then it was the turn of the publishers to run after popular authors and pay them astronomical sums just to persuade them to write a bestseller.Now a new twist has been added...

Bead Calculator

November 18: Quick! Tell me what you get when you divide the number 992.587318, by 5,647.723? Stumped? Need a calculator? Well, thirteen-year-old Hiroaki Tsuchiya of Japan arrived at the answer in no time at a mental mathematics tournament in Kyoto: the right answer - 0.17575000013279688115015555826658. And, he did it without a calculator, too!Hiroaki is adept at mental arithmetic multiplying,...

The Grand Head Hunt

November 18: Making a head count of the number of people in the most populous country in the world, is no easy task. The government of China knows this for a fact. So it sent six million people across the length and breadth of the country, to count its population.These people will take 10 days to collect data from...

Dead Poet’s society

October 28: Do any of these names make your heart sing a sonnet - Oliver Goldsmith, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Byron? All of them are famous poets of England of long ago. But where has the poetry of these poets gone today? Is it only to be confined to a select few intellectuals, the older generation, and to the dusty...

Finns Favour Freezing Swim

November 4: It's winter in Finland and temperatures are touching single digits. Across the Arctic, from Burbank to Murmansk, the land is completely frozen. Suddenly a group of Finns appear with a pickaxe and drill a hole in the thick ice pack. Are they going to fish? So where are the rods?Before you can blink a frozen eye, they...

Every Ball You Bowl, Every Shot You Play

July 31: A spy will be hired to keep a watch on the activities of cricket players in Pakistan. This decision has been made by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The idea is to prevent the players from fixing any more matches.The spy will shadow the team, stay in the hotel and keep an eye on the cricketers. Like...

The Famous Five

Meet the "Famous Five" -- Arjun Bansal, Vijay Kumar, Shruti Chandrsekhar, Arvind Thiagarajan and Sundeep Venkataraman. These five teenagers have just got jobs in the Research & Development wing of the India branch of Lucent Technologies -- the famous American company.The teenagers were handed offers of employment in the company recently. They can join the company as soon as...

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