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The Butterfly in a Bottle

The Butterfly in a Bottle

Poltu was wide awake in his bed. He had had a marvellous dream in which he had won the football match in the inter-school competition. He was getting ready to receive the trophy when the alarm rang. So loudly that it jarred him awake. But Poltu wasn’t too unhappy at the intrusion. He ran straight to his study table. There, in an empty jam bottle, was the treasure. A colourful little butterfly. How difficult it had been to catch it....

Why do Flies have Compound Eyes?

Why do Flies have Compound Eyes?

Just like a man woos the woman he loves, takes her to nice restaurants, buys her presents, and courts her to impress her before marriage, animals too choose their mates through courtship. Since animals cannot do all these, they do it differently. Some animals put up a colourful display, while others give little gifts to their beloved – a choice worm, a designer nest and so on. A few species display their love through a series of grunts and others, like the Saurus crane or the stickleback fish, perform an intricate courtship dance....

Tree Rings tell many Tales

Tree Rings tell many Tales

Examining ancient trees helps scientists get an amazing picture of Earth’s life, for trees are a record of their life time. By looking closely at the rings of a tree, scientists can not only tell how old it is; they can also tell you that in one summer in 1453 and again in 1601, there were freak cold spells. Tree rings, when radiocarbon-dated give a glimpse of certain aspects of prehistoric times. But what is radiocarbon dating?...

How do Animals Communicate?

How do Animals Communicate?

Humans have invented new and advanced ways of communicating with each other. Television, radio, telephones and of course email. You will be surprised to know that animals who seem to have very simple methods of communication – using their bodies and voices – are also capable of long distance communication. How do Animals Communicate? [Illustration by Shinod AP] Foot stomping and low frequency rumbling created by elephants can travel upto 20 miles and is used by elephants to signal other herds or members, says an article in the Hindu newspaper....

Sitting in Rows is Better for Primary School Kids

Sitting in Rows is Better for Primary School Kids

October 21: Are you studying in primary school? How does your teacher make you sit – in rows or in groups? How would you like to sit? Does sitting in rows make you feel good or does it make you feel lonely? Do you feel that sitting in a group and discussing things makes you learn more and in an easier way? For those who were in primary school at any time, try to remember your classroom, the way the tables and chairs were arranged....

Birds Sing in their Sleep

Birds Sing in their Sleep

Just like humans, birds too rely on sound to communicate. However, they do not have a ‘language’ in the true sense of the word and instead emit a variety of squawks and chirps to convey different emotions. Often, birds recognise their mates (or young) by sound rather than sight. Hungry fledglings use begging calls to let their mothers know it is feeding time. Alarm calls, flight calls for flight coordination, and warning calls are other sounds emitted frequently by the adults....

Do Computer Games Make You Violent?

Do Computer Games Make You Violent?

August 12: Four children aged four and five were suspended from their nursery school in New Jersey, US, for using their fingers for guns in a game of cops and robbers. The children were heard shouting ‘I shot you’ and ‘Boom, boom’ during break time. Do Computer Games Make You Violent? [Illustration by Kusum Chamoli] “It may be just a game …but it can be taken differently by other children,” said school principal, Georgia Baumann....

The Making of a Prodigy

The Making of a Prodigy

When Siva Kalyan was born, his spine or backbone was deformed resulting in a lifelong difficulty in walking. But that hasn’t stopped the nine-year-old from becoming a prodigy. This child, who loves reading comics, writing stories and enjoys sketching cartoon strips, is learning advanced mathematics and physics from one of the most reputed universities in the United States of America. The Hindu reports that Siva’s parents were in Tamil Nadu when Siva was born. His backbone was not straight, his joints were loose and the muscles were weak....

Gaseous twist to the Delphic legend

Gaseous twist to the Delphic legend

August 26: In ancient Greece, like a magnet, the shrine at Mount Parnassus, in Delphi, attracted people from all over Europe. They were drawn by the prophetic powers of the Pythia, or priestess of Apollo, who was famous as the Oracle of Delphi. It was said she could foretell everything, from the result of wars to new twists in day-to-day family problems. But, from where did the Oracle get her prophetic powers? Legend says that high priest of the shrine, Plutarch, thought that the Pythia got her prophetic powers by inhaling some special gases, which would lead her to a state of trance....

Too Much Information

Too Much Information

October 28: Over 1400 years ago, Chinese scholar Hiuan Tsang travelled thousands of miles from his home to reach the city of Nalanda in Bihar. His objective was to study precious Buddhist manuscripts at the University of Nalanda, which was famed in those days for its library of Buddhist manuscripts. In the process, he also recorded his observations of seventh century India, and this remains one of the most valuable sources of information on the land during that age....

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