Sunday November 19, 2017
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Is Invention of Electric Bulb a Boon or Curse? Dr Bharti Raizada comes up with a whole new perspective!

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Light Bulb, Pixabay

May 21, 2017:

When I was growing up, I used to see stars in the night. Now my children see stars in the planetarium, or we go 100s of miles away from the city to see stars.

Most cities are glowing up with the bright light these days and it is hard to see stars and constellations. These bright lights confuse birds, and they smash into buildings and get injured or die. Artificial light also confuses animals and they end up at wrong places risking their lives. For example, turtle babies can move towards the city instead of the ocean and die of dehydration and by predators. When we are flying at night time, instead of looking up at stars we look down to see city lights.

Some studies showed that light has harmful effects on the brain and eyes. It can help in development and growth of cancer cells. Exposure to light at night also decreases melatonin production and interferes with the sleep cycle.

Very bright and glowing bill boards are coming in the city. How can people sleep in that bright light? And what about the ill health effects of these?

What is the solution?

  1. Direction of light can be changed by mindful designs and shielding. Much of the light from bulbs goes up in the sky. If light is shielded from above it will go in the direction of earth and therefore there will be less light pollution of sky.
  2. Intensity of light can be adjusted to minimum required.
  3. Spectrum of light is important too. Blue light goes more towards the sky. Red, orange areas of light spectrum go less towards the sky.
  4. A bill should be passed to ban light exposure in some areas and situation. e.g. if someone is lighting bulbs in their home, they should cover their windows so that light does not show up outside.
  5. Many buildings and schools leave all lights on every night. I do not understand the reason for that. There should be a penalty for unnecessary light exposure.
  6. There is need for realtime light intensity, color, duration adjustment. Smart light system is necessary.
  7. Please stand up and speak up for yourself, for our children and for everyone- fellow humans, birds,animals etc.

We have to give our next generation the opportunity to see sky or the mystery of universe. It is their right and our responsibility.

 

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Newly Discovered Fish Fossil in Nevada (US) has Shark like Features

Researchers learned of the fossil about five years ago after fossil collector Jim Jenks of West Jordan, Utah, stumbled upon it near Winecup Ranch north of Wells

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Birgeria americana, newly discovered fish species
The 26-cm-long fossil preserving the right side of the skull of Birgeria americana. VOA
  • A fossil found in northeastern Nevada shows a newly discovered fish species 
  • Scientists believe, it looked and ate like a shark
  • Researchers call this fish, Birgeria Americana 

New Delhi, August 9, 2017: A fossil found in northeastern Nevada shows a newly discovered fish species that scientists believe looked, and ate, like a shark.

The fossil is what remains of a bony, sharp-toothed fish that would have been about six-feet-long (1.83 meters) with long jaws and layers of sharp teeth.

The type of jaw and teeth on the fish suggest it would have chomped down on its prey before swallowing it whole, like a shark, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.

“The surprising find from Elko County in northeastern Nevada is one of the most completely preserved vertebrate remains from this time-period ever discovered in the United States,” said Carlo Romano of the University of Zurich, lead author of a Journal of Paleontology article about the find.

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The fish, which researchers called Birgeria americana, predates Nevada’s most famous fossil, the Ichthyosaur, by more than 30 million years. The Ichthyosaur was a 55-foot-long (16.76 meters) reptile. One of the largest concentrations of Ichthyosaur fossils was found near Berlin, Nevada. The find led to the Ichthyosaur becoming Nevada’s state fossil.

Birgeria americana found in Nevada
Possible look of the newly discovered predatory fish species Birgeria americana with the fossil of the skull shown at bottom right. VOA

The evidence shows the fish was alive and well about 1 million years after mass extinction 66 million years ago wiped out an estimated 90 percent of marine species.

It also shows a large fish was surviving in water previously thought to be too warm to support such life.

At the time, water near the equator, which is where land that became Nevada was positioned about 250 million years ago, could have been warmer than 96 degrees. “The eggs of today’s bony fish can no longer develop normally” at such a high temperature, researcher said.

ALSO READ: Living Fossil in Illinois Waterways: Disappeared from 1990’s Water, Fish “Alligator Gar” is back in US Rivers

Researchers learned of the fossil about five years ago after fossil collector Jim Jenks of West Jordan, Utah, stumbled upon it near Winecup Ranch north of Wells.

“It was just a very lucky find,” said Jenks, who was credited among the paper’s authors. “I happen to notice the teeth glinting in the sun. That is what caught my attention.”

Jenks turned the fish over to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, which has a large collection of fossils and connections with leading researchers. (VOA)

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Reason Behind Multicolored Bird Feathers is Unveiled, Find Out Here!

It has previously been discovered that different patterns and colors help camouflage the birds from predators

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Bird feathers
Honeyeater bird. Pixabay

Chicago, Aug 08, 2017: Ever wondered how birds carry multicolored feathers to show off? While some birds are bright in color as one can spot them remotely, some are colored and appear deceiving so much that you’ll never realize if you’re even looking at the bird!

There are more than 18,000 bird species on Earth, and every species is differently colored.  The feathers of the birds are composed of intricate combinations of mottles, scales, bars, and spots, making each one unique and resembling different.

It has previously been discovered that different patterns and colors help camouflage the birds from predators.

A study on about 9000 bird species’ plumage coloration was conducted by Dr. Ismael Galvan and his team of expert researchers to answer the very question: How birds get such different colors?

ALSO READ: Traffic Noise can reduce Birds’ ability to hear an Alarm call, making them Vulnerable to Predators

Two types of pigments are responsible for the plumage coloration: melanins, which produce a range of black, gray, brown, and orange colors and carotenoids, which are used by specialized feather structures to generate brighter color shades.

Melanins are synthesized by in the birds’ bodies in special cells called “melanocytes,” which work together with feather follicles to achieve a fine control of coloration.

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Carotenoids are present in certain food items that circulate through the bloodstream and to the feather follicles when birds consume such food items. The birds cannot produce carotenoids, nor can they exercise direct cellular control of synthesizing and depositing carotenoids. The specialized feather structures react to the consumed carotenoids with a mechanism that is not regulated by specialized cells.

Carotenoids are more commonly examined in the study of bird coloration, however, Dr. Galvan and group are the first to test whether melanins are indeed the only pigmentary element that birds’ bodies directly control on a cellular level.

Galvan says, “Knowing beforehand that different pigments and structures produce different types of colors in feathers, we examined the appearance of the plumage of all species of extant birds and determined if the color patches that they contain are produced by melanins or by other pigmentary elements.”

He further added, “We also identified those plumage patterns that can be considered complex, defining them as those formed by combinations of two or more discernible colors that occur more than two times uninterruptedly through the plumage”, reports ANI.

According to the researchers, 32% of the species examined have complex plumage patterns, with the large majority of these complex patterns produced by melanins rather than carotenoids.

To put simply, carotenoids produce color patches, whereas melanins produce intricate patterns

However, in exceptional cases, unusual colors appear to be produced by their bodies making metabolic alterations to the carotenoid colors that they consume. Some of these are Fruit doves, cotingas and one type of stork have complex plumage patterns without melanins.