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Typewriters have been replaced by high tech printers

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April 23, 2017: Are you familiar with the rhythmic tap sound produced by the typewriter? Isn’t it beautiful? I think the whole concept of a typewriter is magical. What I am trying to say is that, when words are typed on the machine, it produces a smooth, rhythmic sound. And that’s not the only beautiful output. Whatever one types, it is instantly breathed onto the paper and that I think, is the most fascinating and content feeling for any writer. But, by the end of the 1980s, the majestic typewriters became the middle child of the writing family, as the newborn technologies of computers and printers grabbed everyone’s attention. The onset of the computer era still was not a complete threat to the typewriters.

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But with the invention of printers, the typewriters suffered a huge setback. What were the reasons to accept the hi-tech printers and let go of the typewriters? Were the typewriters actually a better option than the new technologies? No, and yes. Just like there are two sides to a coin, there are two differing opinions for this too. David Mitchell, a British comedian-writer quote that, “For most digital-age writers, writing is rewriting. We grope, cut, block, paste, and twitch, panning for gold onscreen by deleting bucket loads of crap. Our analogue ancestors had to polish every line mentally before hammering it out mechanically. Rewrites cost them months, meters of the ink ribbon, and pints of Tippex. Poor sods.” What Mitchell says is true. People using typewriters did not have the privilege of the now not very highly acclaimed of, the backspace button.

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They had to filter a word or sentence hundred times before typing it out or else one wrong word or letter could cost them a whole sheet. Typewriters were therefore very vexatious. They also involved many resources which cost a lot. Ink ribbons, papers etc cost the writers a lot who did not have a surplus income. Rewriting or retyping also took a lot of time which delayed the production of work which is not the case with the new hi-tech technologies. Working with the new technologies is a hundred times easier than working with typewriters. You can have second thoughts about your writing and you can easily rewrite it by simply going on the saved draft on your desktop. Printers are very efficient. They can easily be connected to any digital device and you will get your prints. The printers are easy to maintain too. But are the hi-tech printers better than the typewriters on all fronts? James M. Cain, an American author and Journalist quotes that, “The academics don’t know that the only thing you can do for someone who wants to write is to buy him a typewriter.” Maybe what Cain is saying, is right on some notes.

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If a writer uses a typewriter, he would become more confident of what he thinks and writes. There wouldn’t be any fear of the work getting deleted by any software related issue. Whatever would be there, it would be in front of one’s eye without any digital barrier blocking the view. Also, as mentioned before, typewriters provide one with an instant piece of their work. So, the other side of the coin shines too. The technological takeover does not define one’s work though, especially writers’. It just shows that we are ready and welcome to all the changes.

– by Staff Writer of NewsGram 

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Oldest recorded solar eclipse occurred 3,200 years ago

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Cambridge University researchers have pinpointed the date of what could be the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded. The event, which occurred on October 30, 1207 BC, is mentioned in the Bible, and could help historians to date Egyptian pharaohs.

“Solar eclipses are often used as a fixed point to date events in the ancient world,” said Professor Colin Humphreys from University of Cambridge’s Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy.

Using a combination of the biblical text and an ancient Egyptian text, the researchers were able to refine the dates of the Egyptian pharaohs, in particular, the dates of the reign of Ramesses the Great, according to the study published in the journal Astronomy & Geophysics.

The biblical text in question comes from the Old Testament book of Joshua and has puzzled biblical scholars for centuries.

It records that after Joshua led the people of Israel into Canaan, a region of the ancient Near East that covered modern-day Israel and Palestine – he prayed: “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon. And the Sun stood still, and the Moon stopped until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.”

“If these words are describing a real observation, then a major astronomical event was taking place – the question for us to figure out is what the text actually means,” Humphreys said.

“Modern English translations, which follow the King James translation of 1611, usually interpret this text to mean that the Sun and Moon stopped moving,” Humphreys said.

“But going back to the original Hebrew text, we determined that an alternative meaning could be that the Sun and Moon just stopped doing what they normally do: they stopped shining. In this context, the Hebrew words could be referring to a solar eclipse, when the Moon passes between the earth and the Sun, and the Sun appears to stop shining,” Humphreys said.

This interpretation is supported by the fact that the Hebrew word translated ‘stand still’ has the same root as a Babylonian word used in ancient astronomical texts to describe eclipses, he added.

Independent evidence that the Israelites were in Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC can be found in the Merneptah Stele, an Egyptian text dating from the reign of the Pharaoh Merneptah, son of the well-known Ramesses the Great, the study said.

The large granite block, held in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, says that it was carved in the fifth year of Merneptah’s reign and mentions a campaign in Canaan in which he defeated the people of Israel.

Earlier historians had used these two texts to try to date the possible eclipse, but were not successful as they were only looking at total eclipses, in which the disc of the Sun appears to be completely covered by the moon as the moon passes directly between the earth and the sun.

What the earlier historians failed to consider was that it was instead an annular eclipse, in which the Moon passes directly in front of the Sun, but is too far away to cover the disc completely, the researchers said.

In the ancient world, the same word was used for both total and annular eclipses.

The researchers developed a new eclipse code, which takes into account variations in the Earth’s rotation over time.

From their calculations, they determined that the only annular eclipse visible from Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC was on 30 October 1207 BC, in the afternoon.

If their arguments are accepted, it would not only be the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded, it would also enable researchers to date the reigns of Ramesses the Great and his son Merneptah to within a year.

Using these new calculations, the researchers determined that Ramesses the Great reigned from 1276-1210 BC, with a precision of plus or minus one year.(IANS)

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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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Baby Survives 123 Days in Brain Dead Mother’s Womb in Portugal: Science Attached to Music and our Brains

The baby in the womb of the brain dead mother can be delivered if the body is kept alive or functioning

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The findings if a new study by MIT researchers could offer a possible way to reduce the risk of autism.
  • A baby can still make it to the world after the mother has been pronounced brain dead
  • To keep the body functioning requires continuous medical support
  • Essential hormones and nutrients must be supplied to the body of the brain dead mother

New Delhi, July 28, 2017: Twins in the womb of a brain-dead mother making it to the world, sounds no less than a miracle. A case in which the body of the mother was kept alive as a ‘living incubator’ and after 123 days, 2 babies were born in Lisbon, Portugal, confirms its possibility.

Sandra was pronounced brain dead after a heart attack. She was at that time 17 weeks pregnant, and it was presumed that the baby had also died. However, when the doctors in the intensive care unit, detected signs of life, they decided to consult the family on whether to keep Sandra’s body functioning, in an attempt to deliver the baby alive.

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“Following the opinion of the ethics committee and clinical management of that hospital, and a concerted decision by the mother’s family and the paternal family of the child, it was agreed to maintain the pregnancy up to 32 weeks in order to ensure the viability of the foetus,” a statement by the hospital, mentioned The Telegraph report.

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Sandra’s body was supplied essential hormones through tubes, which were also used to feed her and keep her breathing. The staff members and doctors at Lisbon’s San Jose Hospital used to sing songs to the unborn babies and touch the belly of the dead mother which happened to have worked wonders.

In a more recent case, in Brazil, a brain dead mother successfully gave birth to twins after the doctor managed to keep her alive for 123 days. The case tops any other reported instances of fetuses surviving in the womb of the brain dead mother.

Frankielen da Silva Zampoli Padilha, 21, died during pregnancy in October last year after suffering a stroke. In February, this year, her twins arrived in this world. Frankielen’s body was also kept alive to save her unborn children.

The procedure of bringing the unborn in the womb of a brain dead mother, to the world, is indeed complicated. Maintaining pressure, oxygenation, continuous nutrition, hormonal balance etc, requires the continuous support of medication. The blood pressure, blood flow needs to be constantly scrutinized as well.

But this, after all, can be considered as a mother’s last gift to her child!

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha