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The Big Meltdown

September 23: Earth is the only planet with an atmosphere congenial to life forms as we know of. If a blanket of air didn't surround us…our planet would have been a frozen wasteland - much too cold for human habitation. We have a lot to be thankful for. But we humans have been taking things for granted. As a...

Why do Meteorites Strike the Earth?

One of the world's best preserved meteorite impact site is in Northern Arizona, USA.
On a hot summer afternoon, I sat down with my elder brother to play carom. I took the first strike and pocketed two coins. Then I did a little war dance. Wow!Suddenly dada (Bengali for elder brother) had an idea. "How would it be if a fast-travelling object hit the earth? Quite like the way the striker hit the...

What is Ribotyping?

What is Ribotyping?
Consider this, in a murder case, the culprit has left no clues. There are no fingerprints or eye witnesses.A perfect crime, you would say. But on close inspection, the crime branch discovers a tiny strand of hair. Back in the forensic laboratories, scientists use this strand of hair to track down the criminal and solve the murder case.But, how...

Who is the real McCoy?

Ever heard the expression, is that the "real McCoy?" No, its not the musical group we are talking about. Real McCoy is actually a reference to one of America's most prolific inventors, Elijah McCoy. McCoy invented and patented all kinds of mechanical things to help them work smoothly, efficiently and safely.Over time, the expression "real McCoy" has been used...

High-tech Crane Migration

Sandhill Cranes in flight at sunset
As winter sets in, millions of birds leave their nests in the northern hemisphere and head towards warmer lands in the south. During spring, they once again wing their way back to their original nesting grounds. This yearly ritual is known as migration.While some birds are great travellers, flying from one country to another; others merely flap down from...

Three Nations or One?

August 19: Tang Weijiang is an angry man. He is suing the famous Japanese company Canon for causing him mental distress! Reason - Tang, a Chinese, was furious that the company making a particular brand of printer, in its publicity video, had given the impression that China, Hong Kong and Taiwan were three separate countries.He is demanding $12 million...

When was the First Circumnavigation by Air?

A canard wing plane the 'Voyager' flown by Richard Rutan and Jeana Yeager
Ever since Colombus set sail to see if the world was flat or round, intrepid explorers have vied with each other to go around the earth. The world has been circumnavigated by sea by Marco Polo and people have walked across continents from end to end. But until 1924 no one had tried to circumnavigate the world by air...

What are Q-Tips?

Q tips
Everbody has used this product at some time or other in some form or other. Sometimes it is used to clean the wax from your ears, and sometimes to clean dust from delicate instruments. Many kick themselves for not patenting it when they knew about it.So what are Q-Tips? It is such a simple silly thingummy - a piece...

The passenger pigeon made the most rapid…

The passenger pigeon made the most rapid disappearance ever known, In the 1800s, it was so common in the USA that flocks of over 2,000 million birds were estimated. By 1900, there were none left in the wild, and the last one died in a zoo in 1914.

Man Who Could Make The Taj Disappear

August 12: Franz Harary is the magician. He has a simple wish: he wants to make the Taj Mahal disappear. Nothing doing, says the Indian government.Harary is an American magician. His specialty is making huge monuments disappear. In ten years, he has done things no other magician has dared do before. In Hawaii he moved a volcano two miles...

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