Thursday, October 30, 2008

Venus - Our Sister Planet!

First, I wish you all and the kids a Happy Halloween Day! And wish the kids have nice ‘Treats by Tricking’ in this day!

Planets in the Solar system including our Earth rotate themselves in the direction from the East to the West. But with one exception – one of our planets rotates in the reverse direction! It is the planet Venus! On the land of Venus, our Sun rises in the West and sets in the East!

As this planet is close to the Sun as Mercury, it is seen near the Sun always – as ‘Morning Star’ just before sunrise or as ‘Evening Star just after sunset!

As it is closely similar in size and composition to that of our Earth, it is called Earth’s sister planet.

It has been named after the Roman Goddess of Love. It is known as ‘Sukra’ in Indian Astrology. It is stated in astrology that Sukra provides one with wealth!

Puzzling scientists still, the Venus is a wonder planet indeed!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Red Velvet Mite - to Please You!

As the North East Monsoon brings rain showers, here in South India, we see now a beautiful crawling creature. It is seen after each shower, moving on with its legs softly on the fine sand brought out by the storm water. It has velvety shining skin with dimples on its back. It is so soft that you are tempted to touch on its back. This is the
Red Velvet Mite of Trombidium species! (It is called as 'Paappaathee Poochee' or 'Pattu Poochee' in Tamil language). It usually comes out of soil just after the rains, in sunshine, as do also the mushrooms at this time. As children we used to collect these mites in match boxes, with tiny bits of grass added as its diet! But I have seen these mites as predators too, preying on Flying Termites ( 'Eiesel' in Tamil) that also come out of the earth at this time of monsoon.

These Red Velvet Mites live in the layer of fallen leaves in wood lands or farm wastes. They eat small insects, and eggs of other mites and insects. The females get fertilized as they sit on the ‘Love Garden’ made by the male with its semen! The larvae of them live as parasites on other insects like Grasshoppers. The mites live for more than a year.

It is a wonder mite that wondered children and is wondering all the children every year at this time of monsoon here! If you have anything to say about this mite you can share it here by clicking on the Comments.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Jumping Spider - the Intimate Inmate!

With human life, some animals attach and adapt themselves. Examples for this are dogs, cats, sparrows etc. Spiders also adapt like these, to human environment – inside the house! I refer here to the
Jumping Spider particularly. This spider jumps or hops on to you when you are near it, and it even looks up at your face by moving up its head and eyes! It usually preys upon insects such as mosquitoes and house-flies. In Tamil language it is called as ‘E Pulee,’ that means as ‘The Tiger that preys upon House-fly.’ It is found often on the floor or the walls, jumping here and there doing no harm to anybody. But I find it to be very the most sensitive to water. A mild splash of water on it can kill it! It won’t revive at all even if it is well dried out of is moisture. In breeding, it makes white sacs in which its young ones hatch out from eggs and grow.It is a wonder spider in our house that has come to stay with us voluntarily!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mud Wasps and Wonder Nests!

Mud wasps
(mud daubers) are seen coming inside the house through the windows and then getting out after a while. They fetch mud pellets to build nests on wall corners, ledges or the ceiling.

They also prefer 'artificial man made nests' - like the screw holes seen on the speakers, or the power plug points! They simply lay eggs in them and seal with mud.

I have seen colorful whorls of paper like nesting material inserted one over the other like plastic cups, inside power plug points. The nesting material used here are the petals from the flowers of Bougainvillaea! Inside the central tube-like part of this 'flower' the wasp lays eggs and seal.When I break open these wasp nests, I often find semiconscious spiders or caterpillars moving their parts now and then.

Cuckoo wasp is different and it behaves like cuckoo in placing its eggs in other mud wasps' nests to get its larvae fed and brought up by the host wasp!

Again and again I could post more and more about these wonder wasps that drive you away from their nests, and but do not sting you at all! You can share with me your own experiences with wasps here.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Aspirin - the Tablet that avoids Deaths and Disabilities!

Tablet Aspirin was sold and used widely under many brand names in 1960s for relieving headache. Slowly it was pushed aside as newer pain relievers were discovered. Moreover its continuous use produced (and produces) various other illnesses that include Gastric ulcer and Gastric bleeding. These almost precluded its use and it almost disappeared in the prescriptions of doctors.
In this present stressful world of today, as lifestyle has become totally changed from that of 1960s, many other Non-Communicable Diseases have become high handed. These diseases are
Hypertension, Diabetes, and other complicating illnesses arising out of them such as Heart attack, Brain stroke, etc. Now our tablet Aspirin has been rediscovered again to have preventive nature against the complications of these illnesses, and thus the deaths and disabilities also, which may result out of them! Here Aspirin has to be taken only in low dose that is innocuous and avoids Aspirin’s own side effects such as Gastric ulcer.
Thus this
wonder tablet Aspirin is in limelight again as it safeguards human race from dwindling down!

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