General knowledge

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

What is SARS?

Severe acute respiratory syndrome.  It is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus.  A person infected by SARS experiences acute respiratory distress sometimes leading to death.

The disease first made its appearance in 2003.  Within six weeks of its discovery,  it had spread to thousands of people.  Since international travel was found to be a major factor in the spread of the disease,  it caused a global scare that affected national economies.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lighting and Thunder

When there is a strom we often see dark fast moving colud masses which make rumbling noise.  The noise is generated by the lighting when it arcs across the sky.  The electro static discharge in the atmosphere causes the lighting effect.  It is very dangerous to be outside when there is a lighting strike.
Lighting bolts are mostly drawn by objects like lamp posts which are tall and  are good conductors of electricity.  Often tall buildings are deployed with lightning arrestors that help limit the effect of the lightning strikes. The cause of initial formation of lightning is still under debate.  Lightning can also occur during volcanic eruptions in the ash clouds.  Lighting aids in formation of nitric acid that is beneficial to plant life.
The study of lightning is called fulminology, and someone who studies lightning is called a fulminologist.



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Marsupials

Kangaroo is a Marsupial.  The marsupials are mostly found in Australia.  The mother Kangaroo has a pouch attached to its body where it nurses the new born.  The new born kangaroos are very small in size.  the young ones of a Kangaroo is called a Joey.  Kangaroos have extremely strong back legs.  The hind legs help it to take giant leaps.  Kangaroos are herbivorous.  They are usually very timid in nature.  They usually attack with their hind legs.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Did you Know?

The Olympic torch weighs about 3 pounds only.
The biggest bug in the world is the Goliath beetle which can weigh up to 3.5 ounces to 4.5 inches long.
 Octopus and squid are the most intelligent vertebrates.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Largest Ocean - Pacific Ocean

The pacific ocean is the largest ocean in the world.  It covers nearly 1/3 of the earth's surface.  It is also the deepest ocean on the earth.  The pacific ocean lies between Asia and Australia on the west and North and South America on the East.  Pacific ocean is rich in natural resources and marine life. 
The Pacific's deepest parts are the ocean trenches.  These trenches are long,narrow, steep and very deep holes at the bottom of the ocean.  The deepest trench is the Mariana trench.  The deepth of this trench is more than the hight of Mt.Everest.
There are many islands in the Pacific ocean like Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan and New Zealand.  Other islands have risen from the floor of the ocean.  Some of them were from the volcanoes.  The islands were built over thousands of years by the lava that comes out of the volcanoes.  The Hawaiian islands are from volcanoes.

What are Glaciers?

In high mountains there are places that are packed with ice.  These ice packs are called 'Glaciers' these resemble gaint frozen rivers.  Many thousands of years ago most of the Earth's surface was covered with moving glaciers.
It takes a very long time to make a glacier.  First, snow falls on the mountains.  It collects year after year, until there is a thick layer called a snow field.
During summer months the snow field melts and sinks into the snow below it.  There it freezes and forms a layer of ice.  This happens year after year, until most of the snow field is converted to ice.  The snowfield is now a glacier.
The snow and ice ina glacier can become very thick and heavy.  The glacier then begins to actually move under its own weight and creeps down the mountain valley.  It has now become a valley glacier.
The valley glacier moves slowly but with enormous force.  As it moves, it scrapes the slides of the mountain and tears off pieces of it.  Sometimes it tears off chunks as big as a house.  As the glacier moves down warmer regions, the water melts and becomes source of water for rivers and lakes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sesame

Sesame seeds have a nutty taste and a delicate, almost invisible crunch.  Depending on the variety, they can be white, yellow, black or red.  Sesame seeds are valued for their oil, which is very resistant to rancidity.  These seeds were thought to have first originated in India.  From India Sesame seeds were introduced to West Asia, Africa and Asia.  Currently, the largest commercial producers of sesame seeds are India, China and Mexico.

 

When buying sesame seeds, ensure they bear no traces of moisture, unhulled sesame seeds can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place.  Once the seeds are hulled, they are more prone to rancidity; so store them in a freezer.

 

Sesame seeds are a good source of copper and manganese.  They are also a good source of calcium, iron dietary fiber and monounsaturated fats.

 

Sesame seeds contain two unique substances sesamin and sesamolin.  These belong to the group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, which are said to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans.  Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Microbes under the sea.

The ocean depths are home to myriad species of microbes, mostly hard to see but including spaghetti-like bacteria that form whitish mats the size of Greece on the floor of the pacific, scientists said.

 

The survey, part of a 10-year census of marine life turned up hosts of unknown microbes, tiny zooplankton, crustaceans, worms, burrowers and larvae, some of them looking like extras in a science fiction movie and under-pinning all like in the seas. 

 

In no other realm of ocean life has the magnitude of census discovery been as extensive as in the world of microbes. Said Mitch Sogin of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, head of the marine microbe census.  The census estimated there were a mind boggling "nonillion" individual microbial cells in the oceans, weighing as much as 240 billion African elephants, the biggest land animal.

 

Getting a better idea of microbes, the hidden majority that makes up 50-90% of biomass in the seas, will give a benchmark for understanding future shifts in the oceans, perhaps linked to climate change or pollution.

 

Among the biggest masses of life on the planet are the carpets on the seabed formed by giant multi-cellular bacteria that look like thin strands of spaghetti.  They feed on hydrogen sulphide in oxygen starved waters in a band off Peru and Chile.

 

 

 

Courtesy : Times of India, Chennai times, 20/04/2010



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