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Why are Human Voices Different?

Why are Human Voices Different?

Imagine a scenario. A criminal is being tried in court. He denies saying something. The prosecution brings a recording, saying they have his confession on tape. As the accused vigorously denies the voice being his, an expert shows just why the voice could be no one else’s. A fictional scene? Perhaps, but it is a reality that no two persons in the world have exactly the same voices. Do you know why this is so?...

How are Earthquakes Recorded?

How are Earthquakes Recorded?

When an earthquake takes place, people say that it measured 6.2 or 6.5 on the scale. The scale they are referring to is the Richter Scale developed by Charles Richter in the 1930s. The Richter Scale measures the magnitude of the seismic waves or vibrations that travels across the earth’s surface. The scale uses a logarithmic formula using high-frequency data collected from seismograph stations. However, long before Richter developed his scale, a Chinese philosopher Chang Heng invented a device to measure earthquakes in 132 A....

Why do We Cup Our Hands When We Shout?

Why do We Cup Our Hands When We Shout?

“Go on Sanjay, go on,” we shouted. It was the annual sports meet in our school and the 100 metres sprint was on. The White House runner Deepak was giving our Blue House sprinter, Sanjay, tough competition. As the sprinters neared the finishing line, and the shouts turned into screams, I noticed something remarkable. Everyone had cupped their hands around their mouths while shouting. The gesture caught my attention. I had seen that kind of a hand movement in plays and folk dances....

Why do Earthquakes Occur?

Why do Earthquakes Occur?

As a result of upheavals below its surface, the earth shakes now and then. This shaking of the earth is known as an earthquake. Few natural events are as violently destructive as an earthquake. It usually strikes without warning, giving off violent vibrations in the process. These vibrations not only shake the ground but also sometimes crack it open. And then, there is chaos, for earthquakes have been known to wipe out cities and civilisations....

What is an Earthquake?

What is an Earthquake?

One moment, the world seems just the way it was yesterday, the day before, last year, or even the day before the day before. All is well with the world. It’s a beautiful sunny day and you are sitting drinking your morning tea or coffee relaxed and enjoying the day. Suddenly there is a rattling of plates and glasses. Within seconds chairs and tables are rocking violently, the fans sway crazily and crockery is falling off the shelves....

The Price of Pride

This is one story from the book “The Best Thirteen: A collection of the best stories from 13 languages of India”. You know that a pearl can be so valuable that it is said to be without price. Pearls are formed inside oysters who live on the ocean-bed inside their shells. This is the story of one such oyster. This oyster was very pleased with himself because he believed that he was the most important creature in the world....

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....

The Colours of Light

The Colours of Light

A beam of light seems to have no colour. Actually, it is made up of coloured rays. Usually, these coloured rays combine to form the white light. But it is possible to see the different colours at certain times. For instance, when it rains and the sun’s rays pass through raindrops. Since the raindrop has many sides or surfaces, the rays split up into a fanshape of different colours. And we see the rainbow. Violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red....

The Telegraph

In 1833 John Herschel, a British astronomer, went to South Africa to study the southern skies. He took with him a powerful telescope and many other instruments. He wanted to make charts and maps of the sky which people in the northern half of the world never saw. John Herschel planned to stay at the Cape of Good Hope for three or four years to complete his work. Then Richard Locke, a reporter on the staff of the New York Sun, had a bright idea....

What does a Train Whistle tell us about the Universe?

What does a Train Whistle tell us about the Universe?

I remember my first visit to the railway station as a child of five. The excitement of the approaching train was an experience I have never quite forgotten. At first I heard a train whistle far away, low and distant. As the train got closer, the sound of the whistle not only increased, it became shriller, and difficult to bear. So much so that I covered my ears in alarm! Once the excitement had passed, I discovered a secret – even with my eyes closed and by just hearing the whistle, I could tell whether a train was approaching or moving away....

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